Monday, February 19, 2007

Build, Brand and Sustain


By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP - International Business Speaker

What do you want to be known for and what will you stand for in 2007? Being a leader, taking a stance and setting the agenda are good ways to build what I call "reputational capital".

Every individual or organisation is like a stool. There are three legs to the stool. The first leg is your hard capital - your hard assets - bricks and mortar or computer networks. The second leg is your soft or human capital, your people. The third leg is your reputational capital. This takes years to build up and you can lose it in seconds.

Increase your reputational capital in 2007 and you will increase your financial capital by following these three tips.

1. Build

Logos are bought. Reputations are earnt. Continuously work on activities that will help build your credibility and visibility. The activities that have the highest return on investment for time, money and effort are usually the ones that are free. These are speaking, writing and being quoted in the media.

Aim to write and distribute one media release a month based on something new. For example a new idea, a new product or a new benchmark. Distribute it to a global audience using www.prweb.com

2. Brand

A brand is a set of perceptions around you or your business. A brand contains aspirational elements of what you want your reputation to be. This can operate at a personal, internal or external level.

Build your personal reputation by working on three areas: core, built and perceived.

At the centre reaffirm your core values and what matters to you most. Nourish your built brand in your area of expertise (I call this expert power) by adding new skills, experiences and ideas. Aim to read at least one book a month and attend one professional development event in your area each quarter. Work on your perceived reputation by ensuring your intent, actions and public persona match your core and built reputations. It is about clarity, consistency and congruency.

3. Sustain

Sustain your reputation by putting in mechanisms to protect all you've worked for. Protect your unique intellectual property, products or processes using trademarks, copyright and other tools. Develop templates, processes and systems to streamline all your activities and make them easy to replicate by others. This will add real value to your reputation.

Ensure you think of the "what if" scenarios and have a plan for this if your initial strategies do not work out. What if my laptop got stolen for example?

Leave a legacy by giving back to the community - either in time, resources or support. Do this in a selfless way without expectation and your reputation will have a lasting impact.

If you enjoyed this article, read other wisdom from a host of experts who want to help you expect more in 2007.

Download this eBook as a PDF here and share it with others.

The 21 Storylines Even The Most Cynical Media Will Love (part three)

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP - International Business Speaker

What storylines do you use to hook the media to build your business and brand?

If your engagement with the media were a boat, what boat would you use to float your ideas?

Stories help build brands. Especially in a low trust world, so your stories must be both authentic and engaging.

Most brands don't rely on just one storyline. They use several depending on the audience they are trying to reach.

Here are the third (and final) seven of what I call The 21 Storylines Even The Most Cynical Media Will Love:

15. The Pure Archetype

"An archetype is a generic, idealized model of a person, object or concept from which similar instances are derived, copied, patterned or emulated. In psychology, an archetype is a model of a person, personality or behavior." (Source Wikipedia)

A selection of common archetypes from Wikipedia include:

"Superman (the Omnipotent) e.g. The Joker, Iago, Superman himself
The Hero, e.g. Siegfried, Batman, Beowulf, Doc Savage, Luke Skywalker and The Matrix's Neo. The Great Mother, either good or terrible, e.g. Devi (MahaDevi), the Great Goddess, Glinda the Good Witch of the North
The Wise Old Man, e.g. Merlin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gandalf, Albus Dumbledore, Mazer Rackham and Mr. Miyagi
The Trickster or Ape, e.g. Reynard, Robin Goodfellow, Br'er Rabbit, Bart Simpson, Bugs Bunny, Ferris Bueller, and Loki The Puer Aeternus (Latin for "eternal boy"), e.g. Peter Pan."

The media love to attach archetypes to people and present them to audiences in a certain way that matches these archetypes.

From Terminator to Conan The Barbarian to champion bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been the warrior archetype.

16. Revenge

Revenge is a strong motivator. The media love the inherent conflict in the revenge story. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin fame is my favourite revenge case study.

He took on the record companies, airlines, banks and now superannuation and fuel companies and won.

17. Needs To Prove Something

Proving you are up to a challenge is another strong motivator. Again the media love the inherent conflict in this story angle. Anita Roddick of the Body Shop fame is my favourite case study.

18. Risks All

Risking everything is full of conflict as futures sit on a knife edge. The gambler in all of us appeals to the human side of the media and audiences.

Everyone can relate to risk. Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump are two stand outs in terms of risking all for a goal and winning.

19. Pawn In A Game

Was Tom Cruise pushed or has he really lost his movie star appeal after getting sacked by movie studio Paramount? Who knows? He is just a pawn in the movie making game and his future is controlled by others.

The media love it when someone's fate is controlled by others. The Bali Nine drug couriers are another Australian example.

20. Outrageous Behaviour

Paris Hilton sets the benchmark in this category.

21. Tumbling From The Top

Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson, and Enron are US standouts. Henry Kay, AWB Limited, HIH and One Tel are classic case studies in Australia of how the media loves this storyline.

Note it is a negative one and best avoided.

I hope you have enjoyed the 21 storylines and can find several that match your marketing and communication goals.

(Source: Adapted from High Visibility Irving Rein, Philip Kotler et al (2006), 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, pages 128 - 130).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007