Consumers Communications Bill Of Rights

Spotted an article in Crain’s NY (Free reg. required) highlighted the new hiring spree going on at many of New York’s advertising agencies.

What really caught my eye was the image associated with the article. It lists Wunderman’s top five “Communication bill of rights for consumers.” A nice foundation for every mass marketer to consider:

1. Tell me clearly who you are, and why you are contacting me.

2. Tell me clearly what you are, or are not, going to do with the information I give you.

3. Don’t pretend that you know me personally. You don’t know me; you know some things about me.

4. Don’t assume that we have a relationship.

5. Don’t assume that I want to have a relationship with you.

Lose Your Story

Everyone has a “story.”

I am not talking about telling your story or telling a story. When I say “story” I am talking about the lies and rationalizations we tell ourselves that prove ourselves right or wrong about things that happen to us in life.?? It is the filter that we run every experience through so they fit into the world as we want to see it.

The interesting fact about ones story, is that it typically is the result of years of old (and often incorrect) thinking and, therefore, makes the story false (or misleading at best). All too often, they simply serve to protect ourselves from some painful truth.

Following this accepted fact….every business (run and comprised of a whole bunch of people) has their own story too.?? The reasons why they won or lost a piece of business. The reasons business is going good or bad. Why their competitors are not as good as they are.?? How good their service/product is. Story, story, story and story.

If you are honest with yourself… even in a private moment…. you would see them as the excuses they are.

What if you told yourself that you lost a piece of business because the competition is really better than you? That you really didn’t pay proper attention to the personalized service you touted in your brochure? You simply got beat from someone who had something better to offer.

Would that be so bad? It doesn’t mean you have to close your doors or fire the staff.?? But, It does mean you have to find a DIFFERENT way. And you can’t get there until you lose your story.

Look, if your competitors were really as bumbling and awful as you convince yourself they are… how are they still in business?

Think of the last 3-5 clients you lost or prospects who chose your competitor.?? Write down the reasons you told yourself and/or everyone else why you lost.

Look for your “story.”

Now write down what the truth could be about each situation. It is a lot simpler to see how to take positive action from that list.

(The above post is one of the concepts from the book “Your Business Brickyard”)

Is Your Web Site Alive or Dead?

Good morning everyone and thank you for coming today,

Today is a big day in the evolution of blogs as a communication tool for every business in the world. Ironically, today I am here to announce the death of Blogs. (pause for audience gasp)

It’s the word “Blog” that has become the problem. It has got to go. Basically, as a word, well… sucks. (pause for short gasp) It has caused CEO’s and business owners to avoid embracing the medium by a clear majority. Too early in the life of the word “Blog” it became synonymous with people writing about the consistency of their morning oatmeal. Later, big media pushed it into the news as a place where people voice their political rants.

What’s worse, “I have a blog…Do you blog?” has become the conversational equivalent of “I went to Harvard, where did you go?”

If we want all businesses to truly embrace the power of this important evolution of marketing and market interaction, we need to give it a name that allows businesses to easily embrace it.

From here forward, blogs will now be called (dramatic pause…scan the audience with your eyes to pull their attention in).. LIVING WEB SITES

Now, I’ll bet you are thinking “I didn’t know my web site was dead”… Well, it is. I am sorry. Take a day, mourn, and then you must move on. Your web site would want this for you.

It didn’t really promote your purpose, it didn’t let people in on your passion, it didn’t make them want to come back and see what else your company had to say and it didn’t allow you to continually tell the ever changing story that is your business. Now, that sounds dead to me. Dead doesn’t sell well.

If your business is alive then why would your web site not be the same?

The question every business owner, entrepreneur, CEO, etc.. has to ask themselves is now a simple one. Do I want a web site that is alive or one that is dead? That is much easier to answer.

Now the conversation is simple. “My web site is alive, is yours?”

their answer.. “Hmmm, I am not sure. But alive sounds much better to me than dead. How do I make my web site alive?”

Much better and far more exciting.

So, in summation, I say to all of you (pound podium for emphasis) go back to your place of business with a new mission… LET YOUR WEB SITE… LIVE!

Thank you.?? (please tip your waiter,etc…)

Eject From Your Desk

Ever notice How great things happen every time you peel yourself away from your desk and meet with clients, prospects or partners? But how often do you feel able to do it?

Like many business owners, my office has become a place to push paper and, more often than not, get in the way of people doing their jobs and delivering their best results. Unless you personally generate revenue or income from pushing paper (and lets hope you don???t generate any from getting in peoples way), consider for a moment that the bulk of your time is not best spent in the office. More as a goal than a rule, what if you spent half your time out of the office? If that sounds scary, unrealistic or disconnected, then it means it???s a good start.

The biggest excuse we have for being in the office so much is the old ???It won???t get done right if I am not here.??? Consider that this may be one of those false stories you tell yourself. If it is a true story, then you either need to hire better people or focus on empowering those you trust to do more.

Entrepreneurs are not wired to focus on the details of paperwork and day-to-day tasks, which is only appropriate. Entrepreneurs are big picture, idea people. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who are detail-oriented and derive tremendous satisfaction from that kind of work. If you take the time to learn about how each person in your organization is wired, finding the best role for each of them becomes a lot easier. When you put people into jobs they instinctively are great at and love doing, you unlock fresh reserves of power within your business.

(A great place to start is by having your employees take the Kolbe (A) natural abilities test.)

With your team now in their best places and your one-page scorecard/dashboard (Brick #9) tucked in your pocket, it is time to pull the parachute on that desk. Nobody spots opportunities or make decisions on the fly like a business owner (or a leader in any capacity) does. Nobody else has the edge of being the owner, president or leader at a meeting with a client, prospect or partner other than you. The best way to stay in touch with your business and its purpose is to talk to the customers and prospects in your market.

Working at your desk connects you every moment of every day to that ugly feeling of working in your business instead of working on it. Connecting with customers face-to-face is invaluable – it is what business owners do instinctively at the start until they get pulled to their desks by the gravity of growth and complexity. Want to keep the fire of that startup business alive? Fight desk gravity.

???I have a religious budget on my time,??? says Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. Part of the religion is spending time with customers, about a third of his schedule. ???I get energy from seeing our customers,??? Mr. Ballmer explains. ???It reminds me of the things we???re doing well and it also reminds me of the things where we need to improve.???