Wm. Marc Salsberry – Learn from his wisdom now!

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Photo by Wm. Marc Salsberry | @wmmarc

Just when you think you’ve learned every trick in the book or met every important person that you need to meet, I promise you that you’re going to meet someone who will open your eyes to new ideas and new ways of doing things.  Today was one of those rare moments for me; I met an extremely motivated, well-connected person who gladly shared his experience and wisdom with me.

Continue reading Wm. Marc Salsberry – Learn from his wisdom now!

How to Manipulate Personal Branding

Personal branding is projected to be the big craze this year.  Personal branding will supposedly be the best way for you to secure a job in your industry, build your network, and further your career.  To be honest, I must agree with all of these personal branding “experts,” but one thing really bothers me.

Human psychology truly fascinates me and it is amazing how easily the human mind can be manipulated and influenced.

If you constantly introduce yourself as a personal branding expert and tell everyone that personal branding is your expertise, sooner or later, you’re going to establish yourself as the personal branding expert, just because you’ve been saying it.  I find that truly fascinating!

It doesn’t matter if my material is good or bad; it doesn’t matter if the videos I make online make me look like a complete ass; if I keep repeating that I am an expert in a subject, then people will begin to believe it.  People will begin to introduce me as, “This is Jun.  He’s a personal branding expert.”

[showmyads]

Don’t believe me?  My good friend conducted an experiment at his office and in 6 months, he was being introduced as, “This is Derek.  He writes like Hemingway and is amazing at excel.”  How was he able to accomplish this feat in just 6 months?

All he did was keep introducing himself as “Derek, the excel ninja who writes like Hemingway.”  He just kept repeating that to everyone.  Eventually, everyone was just brainwashed to think that Derek was amazing at excel and writes extraordinarily well.  To Derek’s credit, the guy is a very good writer; just take a look at his series Success Factors.  But the point is that even a mediocre writer can just keep repeating to everyone that his expertise is writing and eventually people will start to believe it.

So what?  Why should I even care?

The simple knowledge that the human brain tends to grasp onto and believe what it is told completely changes the game.  If you understand this, then you can use all of the tools given to you to brand yourself as an expert in an easy and efficient manner.

This is the strategy to quickly brand yourself as whatever you like in as little as 6 months:

Continue reading How to Manipulate Personal Branding

Future Delivery TV is now here

We have been working on this for a while and I would like to unveil our offical release of Future Delivery TV:

Hope you guys like it and make sure to go to http://FutureDelivery.tv for more episodes!  I look forward to your feedback.

A quick way to grade your site

I just found a quick way to grade your website by using Website Grader.  Its a quick and easy tool that uses a “complex algorithm” to actually let you know how your website ranks compared to other websites.

According to Website Grader, my blog is ranked 85/100.  Actually, our site, FDCareer.com was ranked 85/100 as well, and I highly doubt that they should get the same exact score.

To Website Grader’s credit, they do seem to do a very thourough job on analyzing your site.  They take the following factors into account:

  • On-Page Seo
    • Meta Data
    • Heading Summary
    • Image Summary
  • Off-Page Seo
    • Google page rank
    • Google indexed pages
    • Traffic rank
    • Inbound links
  • Blogosphere
    • Blog rank
    • Recent articles
  • Social mediasphere
    • Delicious
    • Digg
  • And a bunch of other things…

Check out the site and let me know what grade you get!  Hope that it’s a helpful tool  🙂

Creating The Next Big Thing: Three Tips For Business Building

Service or Product

The idea of working for oneself circles the brain for more reasons than potential earnings, supposed freedom, and pure thrill – it does so because at some point we need to have our personal touch on business direction, and feel the joy of creating businesses that make a difference. Truly, no one knows business potential like each and every one of us does.

Beyond mere potential though, are the elements that make businesses successful; two of which are marketing and product creation. Last month I wrote about the differences between product-based businesses and service-based businesses in my given industry – forestry. At the risk of creating an “easier said than done” situation, in this post we’ll explore some tips and steps for taking a service-oriented business, and marketing it as (or making it) a product.

#1: Market Your Services As A Product

My biggest fear in creating a consulting business based on carrying out a service – in my case a service to both business and ecosystems – is that it is seen as an extra or mere option. To quell such fear, offer the service as a product, meaning that it must have positive consequences both long- and short-term.

The best way to carry out this transfer is to research and outline the consequences of ignoring your service. Cite law, case studies, and true benefits of your service. Incorporate them into your mission statement, as it is very important that you believe in them yourself. Lastly, market the ways in which your services make businesses run smoother, attract investment, and foster confidence and development.

When your system has been in place long enough, you may want to approach regulation that would make your business a necessity. An example of a service built on necessity is Environmental Assessment consulting: when development requires assessment to continue, the service deliverable becomes a valuable product.

#2: Diversify Your Services

Diversify your services not just for name and fame – but do so for multiple, viable revenue streams. Importantly, spreading your butter too thin may be worse than building a crap business to start with.

Identify people and trends that relate to your idea, and build them into your business plan. Integral to this are people you can trust to build your business alongside you; those who work in a niche which you may not be very familiar with. You must be familiar enough to know how to market and identify opportunities, then trustful enough to pass the task on to your business partner.

…and #3: Better Than Trend-catching is…

In fact, MUCH better than trend catching is trend CREATION. As with my first point, if you can take a mere trend, and make it a requirement you would be golden.

It’s a tough world out there. Not only are we seeing real signs of economic stagnation, but even the top performing businesses are cutting costs everywhere. Nowhere is this more evident in Canada than in the business I have the pleasure of partaking in, the forest and timber industry. But, hidden within the fact that the industry and its funding sources are in the crapper is the fact that we are in a time open to innovation and change, a.k.a the best time to build business.

Be that change, make that innovation, and most importantly, use it to follow your dreams.

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Helpful Links: Initial Steps, Management Help (more to browse within), and Canada E-business training.

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Torbjørn Rive is the writer and owner of Variable Interest. Variable Interest is also a member of the Brazen Careerist blog network.

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The Woo hoo!!! effect

woohoo washington mutual

Have you guy seen those billboards all over the place and all of those commercials going “Woo hoo” for Washington Mutual?  Well at first, I thought this was a very funny approach to advertisement.  Their goal is to associate a positive emotion, “Woo hoo!”, with their company so that you react on that positive emotional feel.  All purchase decisions are made emotionally, so this could prove to be very effective.

You see, Washington Mutual is hitting you from two sides with their campaigns.  There commercials hit you on the logical side because it tells you about their free checking.  Then when you’re driving around on the street, you see these gigantic billboards that prompt your emotional side to associate Washington Mutual with a positive feeling.  It all sounds good and dandy, but I had never before realized how effective the campaign was, until now…

On Monday, my girlfriend and I went to a Washington Mutual at 5:59pm (1 minutes before they close).  I thought that we would feel rushed, but the Wamu employees were very welcoming and all had smiles on their face.  On the wall it said, “Free Smiles,” and that’s exactly what I saw in there.  The amazing thing is that this campaign, the “Woo hoo” campaign, is not just for us – their clients.  The campaign is also for internal use among their employees and to promote the company culture.

It was now 6:09pm, most of the registers were already closed, but they kept open a register for Kim.  All over the walls I saw signs that said, “Woo hoo,” so I had to ask: “Do you guys ever break out into a spontaneous “Woo hoo!”.  “We do it all the time.  We also give special treats to clients who do a little dance and yell out Woo hoo!” she responded.  So of course, I had to do it.  I showed them a little spin and I did a kick like Michael Jackson in his black days.  Everyone got a kick out of it and they rewarded me with the Woo hoo sticker I tagged above!

Ok, so the sticker isn’t all that amazing, but what was amazing was how this Woo hoo campaign has contributed to an amazing company culture.  I bank at Bank of America, and everything feels uptight and not that personable.  At Wamu, they really make an effort to make you feel welcome and like a friend rather than a client.

When building your company brand, don’t forget about branding ineternally among your employee culture.  If you’re National Geographic, then have dinosaurs, animals, and images of different cultures all around the office.  If you’re PetSmart, then allow all of your employees to bring in their pets once a weekso that you promote the animal friendly culture.  If you’re Wamu, then you’re employees all wear smiles, yell out Woo hoo spontaneously, encourage their clients (friends) to do the same.

Does your company culture reflect your company brand?

How did Iron Man make so much damn money?

Why such good reviews for Iron Man? Why such good word-of-mouth?

I did not hear or see any attempts at viral marketing by Iron Man. Forgetting Sarah Marshall tried to harness the power of blogging and new media but didn’t fair so well at the box office. The ruins made an attempt at a viral video but did horribly at the box office. Does the new media actually cause people to go and spend $11 for a movie?

I checked out the Iron Man Website and it is a SUPER slow flash site that doesn’t have anything really that cool or interactive.

From my research, I believe that I have found the two X-factors:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes
  2. Hard-core user Approval

1. Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes gave Iron Man a 93% rating! The first thing that a person would say to me about Iron Man was that “It got a super high rating on Rotten Tomatoes.” For a lot of movies, Rotten Tomatoes can make or break you. In comparison, Speed Racer (34%) and What Happens in Vegas (28%) did not do well at the box office. Indian Jones scored pretty well this week at 80%. Lets see if they debut at number 1 next week.

2. Hardcore User Approval

One of my best friends, Timon Safaie, is a hardcore Marvel reader. He knows absolutely everything about the Marvel Universe and is a Maven in that area. The first thing that he told me about Iron Man was that “It stayed very true to its comic roots.” The second factor in gaining great word-of-mouth is gaining the approval of your hardcore users. People who don’t read comic books watch a great Marvel movie and think, “Wow, this was a good movie.” Harcore readers of Iron Man (people who have grown up reading the Iron Man comics) watch an Iron Man that stays true to the comic book and thinks, “WOW, I must tell everyone I know about this amazing movie!”

Even though your hardcore viewer base is very small, they will be the ones writing the reviews, telling their friends, writing blogs about it, and spreading it word-of-mouth. I think that’s where most companies drop the ball. They don’t focus on satisfying their hardcore users who ultimately make their product an amazing product.

So the ultimate movie recipe is:

High Rotten Tomato Rating + Satisfy Your Hardcore Viewers = Lots and lots of Money!!!

Has American Apparel “sold out” to sex?

I am a huge proponent of building your brand and staying true to it.  If you’re brand is “solid and professional,” then everyone on your team must wear a suit and tie at all times and be a pillar of professionalism.  If your brand is “productive and fun,” then your culture must be upbeat and all of your client interactions must end with a bright smile :).

Now lets say your brand has worked for you but now you are growing rapidly.  You started with a niche group of people and are now gaining momentum.  Do you change your brand to accommodate to your new (and much bigger) market?  That’s what American Apparel has done.  Jeff writes a great blog about how sex sells and influences companies to “take the money.”

I want to take a step back and talk about American Apparel’s brand based on these ads:

I believe that AA actually has a pretty great strategy tied to its marketing efforts.

AA started as “green” and ethics minded.  Lets say they branded themselves very well with the sustainable minded people.  However, Jeff points out that only 10%-12% of sustainable minded people actually go out of their way to buy “green safe” products.  So what are the other characteristics of the sustainable minded?  They are raw, free, rebellious, against “the man”, amateur, and young.  I believe that AA’s ads are meant to further target the “sustainable minded” population.

Take a look at the ad above.  It represents raw, sex, youth, and freedom.  There are a lot of other ones that you can check out be just googling AA ads.  The girls in the ads are looking at you, exposing themselves freely, confident with themselves, and don’t care what you think about them.  They are strong minded and independent.  These are the exact characteristics of the people that AA is targeting.

You see, AA is still a “green” and ethics based company.  The new ads penetrate their target market further and I believe they have done a great job with it.

You can say that they “sold out” because now they’re using sex.  I believe that they haven’t sold out at all.  The ads are not trashy, but a strong statement about confident sexuality and doing what you believe in.