Monday Madness

workMonday, Monday…

I haven’t seen Jurassic World yet, but apparently a lot of running is done in high heels. On the Late Late Show with James Corden, Chris Pratt tries it out. Methinks he does it too well. LOL!

 

I personally enjoy this Lip Sync Battle between Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt. Miley Cyrus vs. Janis Joplin. Just know – these two take this battle VERY seriously as you will see…let’s just say Anne takes it to a whole new level!

Rock your Monday!

The post “Monday Madness” appeared first on Fumbling Towards Epiphany.

Building A Brand – Internally and Externally Part 2

Artofscience_rockHere we go! As I promised last week in my post, “Building A Brand – Internally and Externally”, I share with you the rest of the case history, along with results.

I last left you promising the details regarding positioning and personality, as well as the communication plan and implementation. Ready?

Positioning and personality

In the context of developing a new ‘language’ for the coatings business unit, we needed to determine the special characteristics that would differentiate them from the competition.

For example, they may not be the biggest, but they were…

  • Molecule benders
  • Focused
  • Attentive
  • Agile
  • Determined
  • Reliable
  • Committed
  • Creative/entrepreneurial
  • Problem-solvers.

Now, this may all sound a bit soft, but I can assure you that it’s very important for communicators that we can project any or all of these characteristics in words and images in the communications that we issue on behalf of the business.

But, we (communicators) also have to decide how we present these characteristics to others, for example:

  • Individualist, quirky, creative
  • Confident, aggressive, superior
  • Understated, modest, dry.

Winning hearts and minds

It was time to pitch the final concept and communication plan to the business unit. The goal here was to have more active, planned communication – not a simple “Ad Campaign”.

Here’s how it was going to be done internally:

  • Strengthen the ‘branding’ effort through wider visual display – finalized image and messaging
  • Ramp up communication on good news stories and progress
    • Internal promotion – internal buy-in key first step
    • Intranet sections
    • President’s quarterly e-newsletter
  • Gather and share feedback in more formalized way, as this would enable us to refine and re-direct our approach, where required.

Take the image campaign external!

Examples:

  • Building image campaign
  • Research – we know why customers like or don’t like us but more importantly, we know what they want
  • Media – direct to vertical trade; use directory that reaches formulators directly)
  • Incorporate message into every business unit piece: PPTs, letters, web, literature, etc.
  • Direct email blasts as appropriate to existing database of customers
  • Visual design to be incorporated as appropriate.

The final tagline and visual support

THE BRAND – “The Art of Science”

How did we come up with “the art of science?” By going back to basics. What is chemistry? It’s a science. Going with that thought process, the message was about being innovative with science, in that there is an art to it.

The ad visuals were completely different than anything being placed in the trade magazines in that they had a “drawn” look versus a photo, and incorporated molecules into the artist’s (chemist’s) painting, sculpture, etc.  One example is at the top of this post. (Company text and information has been removed.) Here is another:

Artofscience_artist

Once the business unit bought in and approved, we moved onto sharing the presentation and campaign to the entire business division. Not much had to be changed from an argument standpoint as the research done for the unit pretty much applied to the division as a whole.

The results were very positive in that the response and recognition of how we differentiated the business – message, visuals, experience, innovation, customer service, etc. – resonated with the intended audiences. The business saw an increase in client and potential client activity, with more welcoming conversations, which turned into increased projects and sales.

There you have it! A brand campaign designed and implemented (with research!) at a chemical company.

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions or comments.

The post “Building A Brand – Internally and Externally Part 2” appeared first on Fumbling Towards Epiphany.

How Talking Sports Helps Your Career

daboWay back in the day, early, early in my career, I was told to learn how to play golf.

The reason? The golf course is where business is done, and most clients like to meet at the golf club. That was a reality of the 90s.

Now, I have enjoyed following golf all my life, but playing it was (and still isn’t) my forte. I’ll get out there, though!

However, I can talk about golf, and other sports, very intelligently, because there are certain sports I love! And talking about sports helps your career.

Let me be clear: It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. Being able to talk sports is one of those things you are not taught in school. Talking sports as part of business discussions is an unspoken ticket into business and its various groups.

Let me give you an example. In the mid-90s, I was based in North Carolina, home to textiles and tobacco. I handled NAFTA region communications for textiles (clothes, dyes, car paint, carpet), home and personal care (shampoo, soaps), and water and paper treatment (city water plants).

Many of the managers were what some people call, “good ol’ boys”.

Going into this marketing communications job, I was not a known entity and I was talking about doing communications differently than in ‘the usual way”. (Eeekk! HAHAHA!)

So What Did I Do?

I didn’t let them intimidate me. I asked to be included in meetings. I kept showing up at the meetings. I went to the meetings prepared.

I walked the halls, stopping in their offices and making chit-chat or giving them updates on projects.

Then it all came together—football season arrived. And if you don’t know me, then let me tell you that I love, love, love football (especially my Clemson Tigers)!

The Result

As the football chatter started up, I joined the conversations. I was able to quickly prove that I knew my stuff about the teams, schedules, polls, and history.

While I had made inroads by always being professional and on point with my communication strategies and implementation, knowing and talking about football sealed the deal for me. As I became accepted as “one of the guys”, I was able to initiate more strategic and complex internal communications projects.

This isn’t to say that you have to turn into “one of the guys” to succeed in business. It’s something that worked for me and continues to do so. And I’ve seen it work for a lot of other people. One tip: don’t try too hard.

Additionally, I made some good “business friendships” and found a mentor (the VP of Textiles), who gave me good advice to continue navigating my way forward in that particular position and with my career.

Finding a connection with people helps in building business relationships. Sports is one of those connectors.

What do you think? What’s worked for you?

The post “How Talking Sports Helps Your Career” appeared first on Fumbling Towards Epiphany.

Picture courtesy of Clemson: Coach Dabo Swinney

It’s A New Website!

NEW It’s here! It’s here! Welcome to my freshly designed website! I’m very excited to share it with you, but I must first say THANK YOU to ellcreative for their generosity and time in updating this site. If you ever need a web design, animation, video or film, the guys at ell are who you need to contact!

Let me share the thinking behind this redesign. For years I’ve been blogging on personal and professional topics. This year I decided to turn the focus on my business, E. Marketing Communications.

What am I bringing to the table? I’m blogging here to share my experiences in communications with you. I plan to showcase my experience on a friendly, simple and interactive site. I want this site to be about you – your questions, thoughts, experiences – and our conversations.

How am I different? I listen. I learn your business by listening and then asking questions. After 20+ years, I have been around the block a few times and can hear what you are and aren’t asking when you tell your story to me.

There are some rules though:

  • Respect everyone
  • No cursing
  • No bullying.

Failure to follow the rules will result in comments being deleted. I reserve the right to block someone who doesn’t follow the rules. This is to be a positive site filled with educational and growth conversations.

Again, welcome to my site, and if you have been here before, I hope you like the new design. I look forward to everyone learning from each other.

One more thing: Hire me so we can work together! Information about what I do and how to contact me is over there on the left. You can also find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ (as it exists today). (I am on Facebook, but that is a personal account at this time. I’ll have my company site up soon.)

Working in a Man’s World

IMG_2093I’m excited to have a guest post on Gini Dietrich‘s blog, Spin Sucks!!! She asked me to write it as a woman who has successfully worked with different offices and brands…in a man’s world. It is NOT a diatribe against men.

Go read it!!!

What Questions Do You Have For Me?

IMG_1351Hey there!

While I always accept questions, I’d like to openly ask you for yours!! Let me know what questions you have about marketing communications, etc., and I’ll work to feature it as a blog post topic!!!

Back on Thursday!

Responsibility

work

Egads! Computer issues prevented me from posting on Thursday, but now I’m back for our regular Tuesday/Thursday schedule.

First, though, if you don’t know, I was on the Spin Sucks Inquisition hot seat on Friday! I was absolutely thrilled to be interviewed by THE Gini Dietrich. If you haven’t read it and want to know a bit more about me, go check it out.

Moving on!

Today’s post is about responsibility. This topic has many sub-topics, but today I’m focusing on lessons learned from a third grader.

My daughter is in third grade this year and it’s been an eye-opening experience for both of us. There is more homework than I’ve ever seen, and extracurricular activities such as dance has been put on hold. (And it was my daughter’s decision.)

Before third grade, responsibility meant two tests a week, feeding the dog, setting the table, etc. Now it means remembering to to bring home the correct books and workbooks everyday, studying every night, projects, etc.

The problem we’ve been working to overcome is for my daughter to be responsible when it comes to her homework. She has to understand the lesson, know what her teacher wants, and deliver. And delivering is key for her. If she doesn’t deliver, she doesn’t succeed. (And she wants to go to college!)

Here is where we get to the heart of my post. My angle on responsibility today is that being responsible means meeting with your client, understanding their business, needs and wants, committing to an agreement/contract, and then delivering.

Let’s be real. Some of your clients are going to test your nerves, but until you reach the point where you decide to go your separate ways, you will have to deliver.

What we’ve learned

Just like a student who isn’t responsible, if you:

  • Don’t understand the lesson (the business)
  • Don’t understand what the teacher (client) needs and/or wants, and
  • Don’t deliver –

you  will fail.

Don’t fail. Be responsible. It’s your reputation and work on the line.