When a new client shows up, nine times out of ten, they ask, “Do you want me to make a list of qualities to get the conversation started about branding and positioning?” Our answer is “no.” That list is usually a waste of time. Almost everybody uses the same words, from individuals to groups, from small non-profits to publicly traded corporations.
The branding and positioning conversation requires the discovery of uniqueness, which making a list almost never yields. When your list looks like everybody else’s list, who you are and what you do won’t have a prayer of becoming visible. What does work is this:
- Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing
- Becoming clear on how you want to impact people
- Being sure of who you’re talking to, what you want them to do and where you want them to do it
When it comes to finding a job and building a career, Allison Cheston knows what she’s talking about because she’s getting her information from the front lines. What’s everybody saying to her? Nothing you haven’t heard before, but you probably ignored it: LinkedIn. Read her blog, Recruiters Say: Avoid LinkedIn At Your Peril to find out why working this network is the key to your next move.
It’s planning time in most companies. When you’re trying to set the budget and your goals for the next year, wouldn’t it be great if everybody just told the truth? Tangerine Ink’s client, Ted Harro does a great job of explaining why honesty is at the bottom of everybody’s list of policies and what to do about it. Here’s 5 Steps to Getting the Truth Your Employees Will Never Tell You and 4 Ways to Tell Your Boss the Truth Without Getting Fired.
We found this on the 11 reasons you shouldn’t let an intern handle your brand on social media. No offense to young people–they’re teaching us something new every day about what’s possible on social media. Yes, we’re more expensive, but it’s a time on the planet thing. Do the kids have a sense of the big picture? Context? History? Judgment? Do they remember the things your customer base, your audience is thinking about? You decide.
Steve Jobs is being held alternately as an icon of management and a cautionary tale. Ben Austen’s thoughtful article in Wired draws the contrasts. With the need for excellence comes a certain amount of stress. You don’t usually bring your best game unless the pressure is on and sometimes even a skillful manager will create that pressure artificially. Humanely, but artificially. On the other hand, consensus style decision-making has created dishonest environments of polite mediocrity in corporations. It’s an epidemic that’s hurting everyone. There has to be a middle way, somewhere between the two extremes.
When do you do your best? Under pressure where everybody lets everything hang out or in an environment of politeness?
It’s an interesting time to start speaking to each other, what with Mike Shatzkin predicting the demise of illustrated books and Publishers Weekly talking about bringing the concept of “Agile” to publishing. “Agile” seems to me to be a lot like “synergy” was in the 90s: if you have to say it, it isn’t happening. There are so many new opportunities, so many creative ways to get your ideas out into the world. We look forward to exploring them with you.