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Branding Reality : The Image of Reality TV

Branding Reality : The Image of Reality TV

In my unofficial poll of the people in my circle more than three-quarters have made a negative remark about Reality TV. Which suggests that not only should the Reality TV stars be concerned about their brand and image, but so should the people producing these shows.

I actually watch very little TV, so it’s surprising to some that when I do turn it on, that I actually choose Reality TV as part of the lineup. I’m fascinated by it all because I learn so much by studying people. But I also watch with a pragmatic eye. I’m aware that it’s mostly about business. And while I do see many opportunities for improvement; by wholly condemning the medium we end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Sherri Shepard from The View said recently on Twitter…

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Sherri raises a valid point but I think it’s important to take it for what it is – Reality TV is a medium which will always attract some viewers through drama, nonsense, violence and tragedy. Maybe some producers think that is the only way they will get us to watch. There is another side however.

The discerning can glean the positive aspects of Reality TV. Not just for branding and launching new ventures for which I take special note – but topics around relationships, communication, health and wellness, friendship, family ties, and tenacity of spirit. I acknowledge the value in all of these things and remain hopeful that Reality TV isn’t tempted to sink to the negative depths of the nightly news.

Let’s tell a better story.

Lise

 

Have you heard of Google ThinkInsights?

Nerd and techie alert! Micropreneurs who are creating strategies for their online advertising spend should really take a look over here at Google ThinkInsights. It’s a FREE tool that lets you determine how you enter new markets, determine optimal times to create advertisements and the search terms you should be using to correlate with your particular brand. As I write this note to you, I am reminded of my colleague Peter Marino over at Reel Web Design who has been testing Google algorithms for a while to see how to optimize his SEO/SEM results – and it seems Google has become a bit trickier to set up your website to send you free traffic based on your keywords. I can’t help but think Google is making it that much more difficult because they want to capture more revenue.

Perhaps.

Maybe it is, or maybe it isn’t time for us to forget the hunt for the elusive optimization and focus on smart advertising spend. But in the meantime, check out what this free tool offers to micropreneurs – a great deal of data to use as you search for the answer to your search and advertising solutions.

 

How to Determine if your Business Idea has Merit with an Affinity Marketing Proof of Concept Phase

My father is joining the ranks of retirees starting online business ventures and he’s in his 70’s. When you think about it, being a micropreneur is a perfect way to share his many years of business knowledge without having to leave the comfort of his home office – if he so chooses. And it’s a perfect way to create additional revenue to supplement his retirement.

At his age, though he has seen and done a great deal and if you’re in the same boat – it may be hard for you to pin down a particular area on which to focus your new company. I believe it is a waste of time to write out an entire business plan if you’re still not sure about your business concept – instead try what I call the Affinity Marketing Proof of Concept Phase.

This Phase occurs before you write a business plan. You start with an idea and the goal is simply to test your market and prove or  disprove and refine your marketing message and concept.

To launch a business you need to determine if you can make any money at it. Otherwise it’s simply a hobby or pastime. If you want to see if your business has merit with a Proof of Concept Phase, you’ll need a:

  • Fuzzy idea of what you want to offer (product or service)
  • 1 or more Facebook pages
  • Twitter account
  • Custom Logo files which can be used on all the social media platforms
  • Identity – enough about your concept to fill out the basic information on Facebook and Twitter
  • Placeholder URL is optional – but I like to have it just in case the idea takes hold. If you don’t end up using this particular URL – you can redirect it to the site you develop later or resell it.

You then simply set up your accounts and begin talking about your concept about 2 – 3 times per week and do a bit of announcing and cross posting on all your social media platforms. Watch to see the audience that shows up to hear what you have to say.   Tweak your content every once in a while to see what people respond to. (Hint: People hate the oversell, so make the Identity all about them – NOT YOU)

At first things will likely be slow to take off – with Facebook, there is a tipping point at around 200 people or so. If your idea resonates, this is when the page “Likes” will take on a life of their own – even if you’re not posting new content very often.  At this point, you’re simply collecting names and analyzing the common threads amongst who shows up.

I recommend spending a bit more time on Facebook than on Twitter because Facebook “Likes” have more long-term value. Just follow these ideas for engaging your audience and if you find your page taking off – and reaching in the 3, 4 or (*gasp*) 5 digit Number of “Likes” – begin working on your business plan and main site. You may just have something there worth pursuing.

Keep in mind, you can launch multiple Proof of Concept Facebook pages to test your market, but the key is to listen to what people begin to talk about around your particular concept and to capture the characteristics about your perfect customer. Not everyone who presses “Like” will be a perfect customer to you.

This is one of the fastest ways to:

  • determine if you have a market at all
  • mine that market for their needs; and then
  • fulfill the needs of that market.

Technology and the ease of social media make the Proof of  Concept Phase one of the fastest ways to the money, and one of the smartest ways to find the details you need when you write out your full blown business, sales, PR and marketing plan.
At the end of the Proof of Concept Phase you’ll know what the market pain points are, what skills you need to have (or hire) to help your target market and the price they’d be willing to pay. And depending on your skill set, YOU can do all of this with less than $100.

 

Get in touch with any questions you may have…
Lise

The lure of publicity and the first 9 areas you need to focus on before you send that press release!

It never fails…  publicity, press release generation, and media placement topics are the first things my new clients want to discuss with me. But I have yet to find a new client who is actually ready for PR the first time we meet.

It’s easy to understand the thought process and the lure of publicity though… They think “If I get enough visitors to my website, I’ll be famous and rich.”  But so much more goes into the virtual business process ahead of engaging the press.

Here is my condensed list of the top 9 areas that need to be on point before sending out a single press release:

  1. Ensure you have someplace to send them. This seems obvious, but many clients simply want to have the press call them directly. Umm no. Your virtual platform needs to be available and ready for visitors. Make sure you have your…
  2. If you want to talk with the press, set up your electronic media kit. Very often one media placement leads to additional placements. The reporter or producer that you didn’t initially contact will need more information, so make sure that your media kit is where they’ll find all the information they’ll need about you, your company and your services/products.
  3. Make sure you have a social media presence and a plan for routine communication and engagement.
  4. Is your back-end covered? Can the server that hosts your website handle a large amount of new traffic? You don’t want to find out it can’t handle the traffic after your press release has been sent out.
  5. Do you know where the traffic is coming from, what they’re reading, how long they are staying? If not, set up an analytics system to track important data so you can begin to test and segment your visitors and understand their needs.
  6. Anticipate a bunch of new visitors and make sure you have a unique offer tied to an autoresponder that will follow-up on all leads.
  7. Ensure you’re talking to all of your visitors. Not all of your readers will be customers, some will be potential partners, affiliates, or even the competition. How do you handle each of these segments? What do you want to tell them? What is your screening process?
  8. Create a launch plan. A press release should be one component of your overall communications strategy and launch plan, not the entire strategy.
  9. Because all of your press releases should have a call to action. I strongly recommend creating a unique sales landing page, mini-site or squeeze page.   What is the point of sending the press release? Have something to say AND ask them to take the next step.

Cheers!

Lise

How the big guys lose their edge, and why the virtual company is King…

One of our most recent projects reminded me about the never-ending layers of bureaucracy and the slug-like speed at which things are sometimes accomplished (if that ever happens) in large corporations. This sort of thing can be frustrating for a virtual company proponent. Nevertheless, it has inspired me to keep a running list in my mind (and now here) on the slow & stodgy traits of the big boys vs. those of the small and nimble. Which area describes your business?

Slow & Stodgy Traits:

  1. Unnecessary people, doing unnecessary tasks, collecting unnecessary paychecks
    Watch out for the “paycheck collectors” who are drawn to behemoth companies and governso they stake out cube/office territory and remain until retirement
  2. Very little ability to innovate because of past decisions and investments in software technology that limit growth potential
  3. Old, outdated processes created in part for reasons no one can now recall
  4. Have invested in equipment that now sits in a storage room instead of selling it to create a profit
  5. Never questioning the status quo or comparing your company to the best in class
  6. Employees who prefer to impress the boss instead of doing what’s right

And on the flip side – we find the Small & Nimble who

  1. Have the ability to turn on a dime – creating quick, workable solutions which solve client’s challenges
  2. Opting for the best in class which is not always the most expensive option
  3. Decide at the outset to build a company which will remain virtual and profitable
  4. Allow for smart and calculated growth
  5. Automate 90% of what they do
  6. Limit the number of full-time employees – as they consider this model to be outdated
  7. Are never afraid to toss out something that’s not working
  8. Constantly ask whether they can do better and improve the process and returns
  9. Run a company with a skeleton crew
  10. Plan, automate, improve, repeat.

Growth and profitability does not always mean that a company becomes weighted down. Start now to build organizations that stay lean and smart.