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Showing posts from October, 2015

Want Innovation? 10 Tips for Executives

5 Halloween Marketing Trends That Easily Reinforce The Brand

When it comes to marketing, there's no end to how creative and/or crazy you can get this Halloween. The trick is to raise awareness all in the spirit of the brand. Here are five trends providing a perfect vehicle for doing so: Character Brands: The most popular costumes nationally are Batman adversary Harley Quinn; Star Wars, superheroes; pirates; and Batman himself. (Source: Google Frightgeist)DIY Tips from Trusted Brands: Whether it's homemade mom & baby costumes (Cotton Incorporated) or clever Halloween Treats (Prevention Magazine), creative and money-saving options are popular this season. (Source: Clickz)Viral Videos With A Real-Life Lesson: The UK's Tesco supermarket did a spot in which one of their supermarkets was tricked out with a Halloween monster, and customers were videotaped as they freaked out in response. As a bonus, viewers got tips on how to do some pretty cool and very ghoulish things. (Source: Momentology)Get Fans Into The Action: It never hurts to g…

The New Facebook Search: Good Or Bad For Your Brand?

In a move that some have termed “a challenge to Google,” Facebook announced last week that with its “Search FYI” updated functionality, users of the platform will now see expanded search results: Content others have posted and marked “Public”Content you’ve already seenContent that’s already been shared with youFor individuals seeking to maximize their personal brand this raises a troubling concern: Will all of my old, embarrassing, inadvertently public posts now come back to haunt me? The answer to that question is not as simple as one might think. If you’ve been inadvertently marking “private” content as “public,” then yes it’s time to go back and change yourprivacy settings or even deactivate your account altogether, if you’re very concerned. This is especially true if you are concerned about an employer (or potential employer) checking you out online.If you are comfortable with your social media presence, you may prefer to consider the benefits of authenticity, and “own” your content…

The 10 Building Blocks Of A Personal Brand

Someone asked me for job advice and I ended up writing this in an email. I wish I could take credit for these ideas but they’re time-tested pieces of advice I’ve heard over and over throughout the years. And like a good navy suit with a white button-down shirt, they’re always appropriate. Think of them as the 10 basic building blocks (a.k.a. the infrastructure) of your personal brand. Make a schedule you can keep to. Shows you do what you say you’ll do.Confirm that you understand what is wanted. Repeat it aloud. Send the other person an email, short and sweet, if it’s significant enough (like at the start of a project).Get very organized. Sort your work by fiscal year and subject. Keep the shared workspace organized. Keep email organized.NO PHONE CALLS in office EVER and no personal emails. This is obviously extreme but if you shoot for zero and hit 5% you’re doing good.Find a mentor who will talk to you and help you. Make friends. Have coffee. Nobody is an island.Genuine effort and a g…

Gen Xers: Is "Rudeness" Hurting Your Personal Brand?

“Douche bag.” 
“Asshole.” 
“Hey, welcome back….group’s been looking for you.” 
“Yeah, I lost my phone.” 
“Fuck off.” 
“Or maybe I took a hammer to it.” 
“….We fly tomorrow night.” 
“Without me….I quit the group, Rob.” 
“….Stop fucking around. Shit, shower, shave, and let’s go.” – CIA agents Quinn and Rob discussing a mission, Homeland,Season 4, Episode 12 There are three main generations in the workforce today: The “overstudied” Baby Boomers (b. 1946-1964);Overly “coddled” Millennials (b. 1981-1997); andThe nearly totally ignored Gen Xers (b. 1965-1980). I am a Gen Xer. And the fact that I am ignored by the media has been covered many times, including this Time cover story going back to 1997. This is not to bemoan such a sad state of affairs. Nor is it to enlighten you about all things X. And of course one would be stupid to reduce people to simplistic generational categories. Rather, it is to highlight a problem that Gen Xers face with respect to workplace diversity: our communication style. Compa…

Why It's Not A Good Idea To Manipulate People

Branding is often equated with manipulation. Unfortunately, some people can indeed take advantage of its tactics to succeed at work, and in the process step on the very people they are supposed to lead. They are encouraged to do so because metrics of CEO performance have little or nothing to do with genuinely treating people well. Think about it. When the term “CEO” (or any term associated with a top executive) is uttered, most of us think of “hard” skills. (See for example this article in Forbes: “Great CEOs Must be Either Technical or Financial.”) However at least one analysis of CEO data shows that those who occupy this role definitely have certain seeming “people skills” that non-CEOs lack. Or are they? The screenshot below is from “Making It to the Top: Nine Attributes That Differentiate CEOs,” an analysis of an in-house database of “nearly 4,000 executive assessments, including over 130 CEOs” done by consulting firm Russell Reynolds Associates. The company found that CEOs have 9 diffe…

Creating “Must-See” Content: 25 Tips From LinkedIn & More

Adapted from this post, which contains a link to the event video. Featured experts:  Michael Cirrito, General Manager, LinkedIn Federal PracticeMimi Carter, Vice-President, Environics Communications Inc. (@mimicarter01)Ann Ramsey, Senior Video Producer, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services John Verrico, President, Chief of Media Relations, Science & Technology DirectorateU.S. Department of Homeland Security and President, National Association of Government CommunicatorsThe tips: The focus should be on genuinely useful content; don’t ask for feedback on “which dog picture you like best.”Have a clear goal in mind. Often we communicate without actually knowing why.Assess whether you’ve been successful or not. Don’t just keep going without taking stock.Measure not just views, but how long people are viewing and more importantly, whether they take action based on the content you are offering.Market your products and services, not just yourself.Avoid thinking of content as an …

The 5 Things Every Marketer Should Learn In 2015

What they can and cannot do: Marketing is such a broad field right now that it is impossible to know and do everything well. It’s important to specialize, even if one only specializes in being a generalist.How to do visual content: This as opposed to verbal content. People scan, they take things in visually, they do not read – especially on social media. A marketer must learn to communicate in visual terms.How to work in global networked virtual teams: We have reached the point where technology has almost completely eliminated the need for face-to-face interaction. A marketer must be fluent in terms of their ability to connect with others virtually, whether they’re colleagues or not; working with others virtually; and crowdsourcing solutions to problems quickly.How to pitch themselves quickly and effectively. Opportunities are always cropping up out of the blue. It could be a blind job ad placed on LinkedIn, or an expression of interest from a recruiter, or a colleague with whom colla…

Creating “Must-See” Content: 25 Tips From LinkedIn & More

Adapted from this post, which contains a link to the event video.  Featured experts:  Michael Cirrito, General Manager, LinkedIn Federal PracticeMimi Carter, Vice-President, Environics Communications Inc. (@mimicarter01)Ann Ramsey, Senior Video Producer, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services John Verrico, President, Chief of Media Relations, Science & Technology DirectorateU.S. Department of Homeland Security and President, National Association of Government CommunicatorsThe tips: The focus should be on genuinely useful content; don’t ask for feedback on “which dog picture you like best.”Have a clear goal in mind. Often we communicate without actually knowing why.Assess whether you’ve been successful or not. Don’t just keep going without taking stock.Measure not just views, but how long people are viewing and more importantly, whether they take action based on the content you are offering.Market your products and services, not just yourself.Avoid thinking of content as an …

Do Most Top Executives Have Good People Skills?

Because metrics of CEO performance have little or nothing to do with genuinely treating people well, most organizations inadvertently encourage their leaders to step on the very people they are supposed to lead.

Think about it. When the term "CEO" (or any term associated with a top executive) is uttered, most of us think of "hard" skills. (See for example this article in Forbes: "Great CEOs Must be Either Technical or Financial.")

However at least one analysis of CEO data shows that those who occupy this role definitely have certain seeming "people skills" that non-CEOs lack.

Or are they?

The screenshot below is from "Making It to the Top: Nine Attributes That Differentiate CEOs," an analysis of an in-house database of "nearly 4,000 executive assessments, including over 130 CEOs" done by consulting firm Russell Reynolds Associates.



The company found that CEOs have 9 differentiator qualities. The following 4 are specifically assoc…

Why Gen X Can't Succeed At Work

"Douche bag."
"Asshole."
"Hey, welcome back....group's been looking for you."
"Yeah, I lost my phone."
"Fuck off."
"Or maybe I took a hammer to it."
"....We fly tomorrow night."
"Without me....I quit the group, Rob."
"....Stop fucking around. Shit, shower, shave, and let's go."- CIA agents Quinn and Rob discussing a mission, Homeland, Season 4, Episode 12There are three main generations in the workforce today: The "overstudiedBaby Boomers (b. 1946-1964);Overly "coddledMillennials (b. 1981-1997); andThe nearly totally ignored Gen Xers (b. 1965-1980).I am a Gen Xer. And the fact that I am ignored by the media has been covered many times, including this Time cover story going back to 1997. This is not to bemoan such a sad state of affairs. Nor is it to enlighten you about all things X. And of course one would be stupid to reduce people to simplistic generational categories. Rath…

12 Personal Branding Tips For Women, For Marriage

Like a lot of the things I share with you, these are not my unique ideas but rather represent a distillation of things I've observed, experienced, read and heard from others over the years. I think of this as personal branding for marriage because it involves knowing your customer, so to speak. To be attractive means to present yourself in a way that is appealing. Obviously, at the same time, being attractive and partnered is worthless if you don't retain your integrity and move forward as a self-contained individual. Yes, this is about heterosexual marriage. I am in favor of gay marriage, so there's no implied messaging that one way is better than another. Also, I am a huge feminist, but you can read the tips and be the judge of that for yourself. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I would put it like this: Make it a pleasure to be around you. Here goes. I. Consider the Commitment Carefully Don't force a bad relationship forward. Some people are just not meant for each o…

How To Keep Your Job

Someone asked me for job advice and I ended up writing this in an email. I wish I could take credit for these ideas but they're time-tested pieces of advice I've heard over and over throughout the years. And like a good navy suit with a white button-down shirt, they're always appropriate. Think of them as the infrastructure of your personal brand. Make a schedule you can keep to. Shows you do what you say you'll do.Confirm that you understand what is wanted. Repeat it aloud. Send the other person an email, short and sweet, if it's significant enough (like at the start of a project).Get very organized. Sort your work by fiscal year and subject. Keep the shared workspace organized. Keep email organized.NO PHONE CALLS in office EVER and no personal emails. This is obviously extreme but if you shoot for zero and hit 5% you're doing good.Find a mentor who will talk to you and help you. Make friends. Have coffee. Nobody is an island.Genuine effort and a good attitude g…

A Simpler Way To Manage People

A few years ago I had an interview for a supervisory job at an agency that shall remain nameless.

“What would you do with a workforce that is largely unmotivated?” the interviewer asked me. “How would you get them going again?”

On that day I must have been unmotivated, too.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I can’t make miracles.”

Needless to say, I did not get the job. But I’ve heard that question, or a variation of it, in nearly every single senior-level interview I’ve been on.

In the beginning I thought the right answer was to have an answer. Now I know that the way to handle this one is to talk about an approach - a process. Preferably an integrated one that handles people in a consistent way, from beginning to end.

It is unfortunate that the federal government is not set up to manage its human resources very well right now. Even the most qualified people find gaining entry difficult. Leaders say the right things, but their actions disappoint. Middle managers are routinely stressed out, compres…

Some Feminist Thoughts On Parshas Bereishis

This week we began reading the Torah anew - Parshas Bereishis. I confess that Bereishis is my favorite portion of them all because as an ENTP I like to begin at the beginning and establish first principles before launching into any conversation about the details. Also, in Bereishis we learn about Adam and Eve, and we do NOT learn about the real first woman, Lilith, and I marvel again at again at what goes down in this story. Who was Adam's first wife and what happened to her? ---One version is that Adam didn't like her. And told G-d to get rid of her. ---The other version is that she didn't like Adam, ran away, and was confronted by angels who tried to force her to come back otherwise they'd drown her. (There supposedly ensues a conversation between Lilith and the angels about her life's purpose, which is to kill infants in their beds, and a deal wherein she won't do it if they're wearing a certain protective amulet...this then morphs into the idea that she is …