Posts tagged ‘Branding’

Could SPF 30 Be Blocking Your Business Success?

For business success, too much SPF is a bad thingTo a nudist, sunscreen is good. The higher the SPF the better, right? But to a business owner or entrepreneur, too high an SPF rating can be a bad thing… if the “SPF” in question is a Success Prevention Factor, that is.

Below is a list of those factors – traits and misguided behaviors, really – that can make succeeding in business more challenging. Confession: as I compiled this list, I realized that I have made most of these mistakes. Still make too many of them, I suppose. It happens. I’m human. And business is (or at least should be) a learning experience.

Okay, so here are the SPF 30 (the first of many Success Prevention Factors):

  1. Doing nothing. Do you really expect the phone to ring just because you are in business?
  2. Trying to do too much. One word: burnout.
  3. Being a “Control Freak”. The world according to you? Yeah, freaky.
  4. Being a perfectionist. Nice try, though.
  5. Not being authentic. Really?
  6. Forgetting that business is about relationships. Unless you can sell to yourself, you’re gonna need people. (And people who need people are, after all, the luckiest people in the world.)
  7. Trying to “go it alone”. If you’re an inauthentic-perfectionist-control-freak-burnout-waiting-to-happen type, good luck working in a vacuum. If you want to be something more (like, say, a success!), set up strategic, win-win business relationships.
  8. Not having a well-defined target market or ideal client. Trying to sell to everyone? You’ll end up selling to no one.
  9. Having the wrong target market. A miss is as good as a mile.
  10. Not creating a distinctive brand. Dare to dazzle.
  11. Not differentiating your business from your competitors. If you are seen as a commodity, you can’t command a higher price. Ever.
  12. Not having a marketing strategy. Plan your work; work your plan.
  13. Not having a tagline. Tag, you’re it! (If it’s memorable, that is.)
  14. Not having an “elevator pitch”. You’ve got ten seconds. Go!
  15. Making your marketing messages too complex. Simplify, simplify, simplify. (Let me condense that: simplify.)
  16. Putting all your marketing eggs in one basket. Basket has hole in it, eggs break, you go hungry.
  17. Not listening. Believe it or not, it’s NOT all about you.
  18. Trying to sell based on the features of the product or service, instead of how the customer benefits. Let them know what’s in it for them. It matters. A lot.
  19. Trying to sell too soon in the business prospecting relationship. Misfire!
  20. Selling on social platforms when you should be “engaging”. Social media are not newspaper ads. Different game, different rules. Play nice
  21. Selling to new prospects, but ignoring current customers. Low-hanging fruit can be mighty, well, fruitful!
  22. Forgetting to ask for the sale. You can do everything else right, but if you don’t ask (when the time is appropriate), they won’t buy.
  23. Not asking for referrals. Customers and strategic partners can be your best sales team, if you ask.
  24. Not learning from your mistakes (and applying what you learned). No-brainer, right?
  25. Not communicating professionally. Poor speller? Bad writer? Get help!
  26. Not being grateful. Find something to be thankful for (in even the most disappointing defeats).
  27. Not adopting a servant mentality. Serve to succeed.
  28. Not following through. Every successful pitch has great follow-through.
  29. Not being nice (even if you think no one is looking). At least one someone is looking whether you know it or not. (And then there’s that whole “mirror” thing to deal with.)
  30. Not enjoying the ride. Business is a roller coaster. It can scare you to death and make you throw up, but somehow you want to get right back on.

As daunting as this list is, there are even more SPFs that can threaten your business success. Perhaps I’ll share others in a future post. Better yet… why don’t YOU share some of the Success Prevention Factors you’ve encountered or overcome.

Why Your Business Needs a Tattoo

We are all alike in one significant way: each of us is one-of-a-kind.

Even nudists make personal choices to stand apart from the crowd, including chosen hairstyles, glasses, jewelry, etc. We can even brand our bodies with tattoos. The question I pose to you business owners is, “How does your business stand out from your competition? What does your brand – your business tattoo – look like?”

SuccessUndressed.com: Why Your Business Needs a TattooWhat makes up an effective “brand”?

Definitions of branding may vary, but here is mine: An effective brand is one which tattoos the mind of the consumer with a distinctive, trustworthy and shareable image of the company and its products/services. In other words, it’s a mental hook that consumers can latch onto, one they can remember, believe in, and share with others. That’s a pretty tall order, and not easy to accomplish, but creating an effective brand (and more importantly, being that brand) is essential to the naked success of your business.

So, what are the core components of your company’s brand, your business tattoo? Let’s look at three: Your company’s name, logo and tagline:

Your Company Name

I’ve often thought that the perfect tattoo for a nudist would be an inked-skin version of the seminar name badge. “Hello, I’m Bob.” Think how convenient that would be at an AANR convention!

Obviously, your name matters, and your company’s name is a key part of its brand identity. Large companies with huge marketing budgets can create brand identification even if their name doesn’t embody the essence of their products or services. Think Nike, Sony, Cadillac, Georgia-Pacific, Apple (all with registered trademarks held by their respective owners, of course). A smaller company, however, might be better served by giving a hint as to its products or services. My company, for example, is Chenoweth Content & Design, and provides — you guessed it — content (i.e., writing, blogging, marketing communications, etc.) as well as Web and graphic design services. Likewise, if you run a nudist resort, having those very words in your business name carries the added benefit of identifying and speaking directly to your target market.

Unlike This One, Your Company Name Should Be DescriptiveThe flipside might be a business that calls itself Things & Stuff Solutions, or Knick Knacks & More. Just what ARE “Things & Stuff”? What ARE these mysterious “solutions”? What on earth comprises “& More”? By not giving consumers a clue about what your business does, you’ll have some extra “splainin'” to do.

Your Company’s Logo

Now we’re really talking business tattoo!

Your business needs a logo. Period. Your logo can employ a simple typographic treatment (like Barnes & Noble, Google, or Bing) or an iconic element (like Nike, Apple, or Chevrolet) or use them in combination as appropriate to the marketing/advertising platform or space available (think McDonalds, Walmart, and Facebook).

Increasingly, it’s important for a brand to have an iconic element. Why? Online platforms demand it. Just as a person’s thumbnail image or avatar is their face to the online world, so it is with a company’s icon. These images must be recognizable even at a small scale (as small as the “favicon” that appears on browser tabs). If you include such an iconic element in your logo, ask yourself this: “Does the icon visually represent my business even if rendered separately from my company name?” If you’re not sure, maybe it’s time to freshen your logo.

The “No Tan Lines” Tagline

Just as your lack of tan lines probably tells the casual observer that you are a nudist, your tagline should be just as seamless. It should set the right tone and convey what your business does, how buyers benefit, and what sets you apart from competitors. In about 10 words. 15 tops. Seriously.

What’s more, your tagline should be closely aligned with, if not identical to, your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP (you DO have one of those, don’t you?); and can be part of your slightly more descriptive “elevator pitch” that also describes your target market.

Can you think of some memorable taglines? How about… “Got Milk?” (two simple words implying that because milk is good for you, you should keep it on hand); or “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hands” (M&Ms’ assertion that they are less messy than other candies); or “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is” (Alka Seltzer’s way of describing its unique dosing as well as its benefit); or “Nothing runs like a Deere” (John Deere’s use of clever word play to associate the company name with an implied benefit of quality and reliability).

The Bare Bottom Line:

Your business already has a tattoo, whether you know it or not. But does it send the right message? Does your brand truly appeal to your target market? If you’re not sure, contact me or to start or join a conversation. And stay tuned for the next column in this series, where I’ll continue to strip away the mysteries of branding, marketing communications, and… success undressed.

Bob

Expose Yourself, Create Ripples, and Leave Footprints

Hi. I’m Bob. I’m a marketing guy and a nudist. You might say I know a thing or two about exposure.

Water Footprint www.successundressed.comI’m also a small business owner and, statistically speaking, I know that there are thousands of you who own small or medium-sized businesses, or own and operate nudist clubs, or simply care about others who struggle to succeed in a competitive marketplace. Believe me; I face those same challenges every day. That’s why I wanted to do this blog. For you. For me. For us.

But before we begin navigating those challenges and charting a course to success, bear (bare?) with me for a little backstory…

I’ve been an AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation) member for several years, and in 2010, I had the honor of being chosen by the organization’s leaders to assist with the redesign of AANR.com. The website project was a great opportunity to help AANR strategize, visualize and realize a more empowered use of technology to expand connections with current members and clubs while also reaching out to the nude-curious. I also produced an explanatory video to introduce the new site to AANR’s extended leadership. Because I was able to work with AANR in these ways, I became more attuned to AANR’s vision and its challenges. I recognize the issues of those in the business of nudism, and I strongly identify with nudists who own and operate businesses in mainstream markets.

Now, back to our program…

AANR Home Page 04302012One of the problems facing the small business operator today, nudist or not, is knowing which way to turn with branding and marketing. Frankly, there is too much information available. What’s my solution? More information, of course! But here’s the difference:  I’m going to share with you some insights into branding, marketing, business communications, graphics and Web design that have their foundation in something we know, love and share: nudism. You are reading the first in what will be a series of posts, and perhaps even an e-book, showing how you can “Use the Lessons of Nudism to Shamelessly Build Your Brand and Market Your Business (in an Age of Exposure and Transparency).”

Make no mistake: success can be elusive. The information, tools, methods and skills necessary to achieve it are moving targets. It helps to remember that success isn’t really a destination; it’s a journey. So let’s get started with some fundamental principles to start us moving in the right direction:

Expose Yourself (as a Professional)

If you carefully, proudly and expertly provide solutions to your prospects’ needs, you will become known as a trusted professional. Professionalism is about performance; it is not about looking the part because you are dressed to the nines (perish the thought!). Nonetheless, even if you are an outstanding solution provider, you can still struggle to succeed. Probably the biggest obstacle to being perceived as a professional lies in poor communication skills. Nobody’s perfect, of course (not even word processing spell checkers are foolproof), but in today’s fire-first-aim-later culture, yours is an uphill battle if you struggle to communicate as a professional. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t have to be an expert communicator to share expertly crafted communications. The most professional thing you can do in business is to recognize your limitations and hire experts in those areas to help you look your best. If you are not an excellent writer, hire a freelancer to ghostwrite for you. Can’t spell your way out of a paper bag? Hire a meticulous editor. Does your logo or business card look amateurish? Hire a skilled graphic designer. (And yes, I’m available for all of the above. Want to learn more? Contact me!)

Create Ripples

Effective marketing takes many forms, but the idea is always to create thought-provoking influence, or ripples, that lead to establishing a customer relationship. For many smaller businesses, well-crafted “drip marketing” via continuing value-added communications can build awareness and, over time, create long-term profitable relationships. We’ll “dive in” to the pool of marketing tactics as we continue with this series.

Leave Footprints

If you act professionally, continually share information your targets will value, and delight them with a job well done when given the chance, you will leave indelible footprints along your business path. If this is your goal, it can also be your business legacy.

So it is with these principles in mind that we begin our journey. It won’t be easy. Never is. But with the focus and clarity to be found in our common passion – nudism – we can cut through the unnecessary layers and ultimately achieve… success undressed.

I’d love to hear about your business challenges. Wanna start or join a conversation?

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