Tag Archives: brand

Brand: Kathie Lee Gifford

Kathie Lee Gifford, Today Show co-host and author of a new book  Just When I Thought I’d Dropped My Last Egg: Life and Other Calamities (Ballentine Hardcover) http://budurl.com/ur65 was the guest speaker at the New York City Women’s Media Group luncheon Monday, May 18th.   

She had some very insightful thoughts on branding.  I suspect she doesn’t think of herself as a brand, but because my business is brand communications and marketing, I heard her talk through that filter and found that she exemplifies what I consider to be some of the most essential elements necessary for a strong brand: aspiration, inspiration and motivation.  I’d like to share a few quotes from her talk as illustration.

“You can have it all but not all at once.” This is Kathie Lee’s aspirational brand promise.  It tells her audience that she (and they) can live rich and fulfilling lives but there are some sacrifices which must be made along the way in terms of timing.  Kathie Lee shares stories of Broadway opportunities left behind when her children were very young and of new Broadway offers coming to her at a better time in her family life.  She talks about her decision to co-host the fourth hour of The Today Show, which some might view as a lesser spotlight than her position on Regis and Kathie Lee, but which was a very creative and rewarding new opportunity for her.  Her brand promise tells the consumer/viewer that Kathie Lee believes in going after your dreams, fully understanding and evaluating the personal “cost.”  Aspirational Brand promises resonate with the intended core audience and tell them that their aspirations are available to them – at some point in their lives.  This promise is spot on brand messaging for Kathie Lee’s intended audience.

“At my age, I’m delighted to be anywhere…”  Kathie Lee uses mild self mockery and humor as a way to identify with her core audience.  Here she tells her audience that she’s been through a lot in her life, as have they, and she understands their lives.   She also told the audience that she’s the oldest host on the Today Show other than Willard Scott.  An inspirational brand message tells the consumer that the brand is “just like her.” This brand understands that her audience is looking to her for inspiration and wants to know that even if it’s a struggle, success is possible – even later in life.

“My career is how I make my living.  It is not my whole life.”  This is Brand Kathie Lee’s Mission Statement and provides motivation for the viewer.  This gives her audience insight into what to expect from her.  She will talk about her husband and children.  She will make public appearance choices based on that mision.  She will moderate or alter her public life accordingly.  This motivational statement tells the viewer that by associating with Brand Kathie Lee, their lifestyle choices are not just validated but celebrated.  Her brand promises to provide information and entertainment which will always be guided by her Mission Statement.  They can trust and value her brand and “consume” it with confidence.  She motivates her audience to trust her and therefore, the information she presents to them.

Overall, Brand Kathie Lee’s core messages are clear and  she presents herself as sincere, funny, dedicated to family, creative and spiritual.  This says “I have a wonderful career but I have a life outside of work.  Family life is more important to me than my life in the public eye.” This brand promise tells her audience who she is and invites key emotional identifyers to join her.  She expertly positions her brand for clarity and her ideal audience can find her easily.

Which other celebrities do you think are managing their brand successfully?  Why? 


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Pssst! Twitter Demystified for Newbies!

Unless you’ve been living in a cave or just emerged from a year-long biosphere experiment, you’re aware of the hype over Twitter and the scramble to figure out either how you can use it to grow your business or how you can ignore it and still not be left behind.  Well, you can’t ignore it or you will be left behind so let’s look at some very simple ways you can enhance your business strategy with Twitter and maybe even enjoy yourself in the process.

According to internet guru Pete Cashmore’s website http://mashable.com,  an estimated 6 million people in the United States have registered Twitter accounts.  The research firm eMarketer estimates that this number will double by the end of 2009 to more than 12 million and by 2010 will reach more than 18 million users. 

Yikes, you’re thinking. “How can my brand or business stand out in the sheer volume of noise of six million people tweeting?”  A better question might be “What do I know that others might also want to know?”

OK, here’s the secret.  Twitter is just a conversation.  You have conversations everyday.  Talk to people on Twitter just as you would were he/she to come into your bricks and mortar store: honestly, personably, helpfully and knowledgably. 

  1. Share:  Twitter is a conversation.  Talk to people the way you would if you met them socially in person.  If every time you met a potential client or customer you launched into a sales pitch, people would go out of their way to avoid you.  But if you developed a reputation for being an engaging, interesting person who generously shares his or her experience with everyone-no strings attached-people would be delight to see you and introduce you to their friends and family.   It’s the same concept in Twitter.  A realtor who Tweets about community affairs, house maintenance tips, great contractors, good sales and special events in the neighborhoods they serve will be considered a resource to people who might not be in the market to buy or sell a home.  However, that realtor will be forefront in their minds when a friend is looking to relocate or a family member moves.
  2. Listen: Conversation is a two-way street.  Let’s think again about the similarities between a virtual client interaction and a physical one.  If you’re selling jewelry and a potential client walk into your store, you’ll most likely ask them “How can I help you today?”  Once you hear that they’re looking for a graduation present, you won’t try to show them engagement rings.  In social media, you’ll do the same thing.  Tweet about the things you know and the things you care about.  Then listen to others and engage in conversations.  Think of Twitter as a virtual backyard barbeque.  You’ve got a burger in one hand and a soda in the other and you’re talking to some new “neighbors.”  You tell them a little about yourself and then you listen as they tell you a little about themselves.  When you hear that they are looking for a gymnastics class for their 7 year old, you introduce them to another neighbor, whose child takes gymnastics.  They remember you as a great conversationalist, a good listener and a well-connected and helpful neighbor.  Next time they need advice, perhaps the name of a good family doctor, you come through again.  Ultimately you become a trusted source and when the time comes that they or someone they know needs the service you provide, they will recommend you.  On Twitter someone might ask you what hashtags mean or what in the world a Retweet is.  Listen to the conversation and provide value to build a strong social media reputation.
  3. Communicate: Be clear with yourself and others about why you tweet.  If you’re using Twitter to grow your business, make sure people can identify what it is you offer.  Start with your Twitter name.  @Jailbird might not be a great name for an auto dealership but @DriveSmart might be.  In many cases, it might be best to use your actual name as your Twitter name.  This signals to others on Twitter that your updates will reflect your values and your reputation. Use your twitter profile bio to tell people something about yourself.  Include your website link so interested parties can contact you or at least survey your offerings.  Customize your twitter background with visual clues as to who you are, what you do and what people might expect from following you.  Think of Twitter as an online business card. 
  4. Be authentic:  You cannot be all things to all people.  Be yourself and engage in the conversations that interest you.  Retweet (repeat other people Tweets) things you see on Twitter that you found helpful or intriguing.  Act as a filter for your Twitter Followers by participating in conversations that mean something to you and letting the other pass you by.   In this way you amplify your interests and muffle the noise created by six million plus people “speaking” all at once.

Don’t be intimidated by Twitter.  Jump right in and join the conversation.  It can be the biggest social mixer you’ve ever attended, with literally millions of fascinating people waiting, real time, to talk to you.  You can follow me on Twitter at @BrandYou.  I’m interested in your experiences with Twitter and other social media.  I would love to share what I’ve learned with you and I’m looking forward to meeting you there.

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Five Secrets to Creating Brand: You

When I was a kid my folks told me that I could be anything I really wanted to be.  Although not entirely true – I will never be 5’8″ – I have found that I have nearly unlimited possibilities.  I’m a writer, a marketing consultant, a wife and mother, a business woman, a coach, a loyal friend, a passionate seeker of new challenges and also someone who loves the quiet solitude of reading on a beach.  That abundance of choices and gifts can sometimes muddy the waters when I’m trying to define my “brand” to myself and to potential clients.  

I’m working hard to be very clear about who I am and what I do.  When I succeed in communicating this with clarity,  I’m happier and more productive and so are my clients.  I’ve looked to successful leaders to help me identify some “best in class” practices that are helping me define my brand.  I hope you’ll find them useful and inspiring as well.

For examples of people who have “done it right” while creating their own personal brand, look to the exploding world of social media.  These social media rockstars have perfected the art of personal branding and become  major social media players.  

On Twitter and throughout the web, Gary Vaynerchuk, @garyvee, Pete Cashmore, @mashable and Mari Smith, @marismith are instantly recognizable wherever they appear and there is no doubt in the viewer/consumer’s mind what their brand is all about.  

Why?  They all know these five secrets to creating their brands.

1.  Create a focused brand.  Gary Vaynercuk‘s earliest message on http://www.tv.winelibrary.com was “I taste wine and tell people about it.”  He began in 2006 and was in the forefront with his episodic  video blogging, combining his dynamic personality with video to demystify wine for the masses.  Pete Cashmore at http://www.Mashable.com began in 2005 focusing exclusively on web 2.0 and social networking news.  He succeeded in getting out in front of an industry that was about to explode and became a go-to resource for all things web and social.  Mari Smith, http://marismith.com, was dubbed the “Pied Piper of the Online World” by Fast Company and joined the fray in 2007, rapidly emerging as a relationship and social media marketing expert and teaching others how to jump onto this very fast moving train.  Each one of these leaders began with a very focused area of expertise.  Take time to decide what it is you want to share with the world.  Lesson: If you have more than one idea, focus on the one idea that excites you the most.  Creating a brand takes time, energy, and resources.  Put those precious commodoties to work on somethat that really jazzes you.

2.  Fill a need: Make sure there is a need in the world for what you offer.  People didn’t want to look foolish when ordering wine.  Everyone was talking about web 2.0 and very few people knew what that meant.  Social media and relationship marketing are hot, hot, hot and everyone is scambling to catch up and not be left out.  These three innovators filled  a need with their brand.  Lesson: Ask yourself if your idea fills a need, not just a desire, but a real need. 

3.  Engage in conversation:  You can be the most knowledgable brilliant person on earth in a specific area but  you’ll have trouble establishing your brand beachhead without engaging in conversation.  All three of our successful examples engage in extensive communications with the world through social media.  They blog, they teach, they speak in public, and appear at conferences and on television and radio.  But they began their rise by having intimate, informative, personal conversations with people who wanted to know what they know–people who shared their primary passion.  Those conversations took place on Twitter, Facebook, websites and via e-mail to name a few.  Lesson:  Join the conversation.  Get on Facebook.  Join Twitter.  Talk, follow, friend, listen and participate.

4. Build a following through service:  All that conversation is wonderful but wouldn’t have led to the leadership status that each one is now enjoying IF they had not provided real service.  The conversations that Gary, Pete and Mari are having with their followers is successful because each one provide service while sharing their knowledge.  They offer something useful, desirable and valuable and deliver it through “conversation.”  Lesson: Be of service to people who “give” you their time and trust.

5.  Evolve, engage and extend.  To rise to the top in your field, you need to become a leader.  Participate fully in the community in which you are, or want to be, and expert.  For example, in marketing and social media, the landscape changes rapidly.  This means that to be a leader, you must be fully engaged in social media avenues to keep your clients abreast of what’s new. In a very short time Facebook eclipsed MySpace, Twitter exploded and made blogging into microblogging and YouTube is changing television viewing habits.  Your brand will need to adjust to new developments, evolve and grow in response to consumer needs, engage with your peers and fan base to keep current with their needs and extend your brand to become a thought leader in your field. 

The next *great idea* could come from your brand.  Have fun creating Brand You!

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