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Anna Farmery
Leeds, United Kingdom
Social Marketing Architect, Speaker, Author and in spare time completing PhD on the future of the social business model
Interests: I love thinking, writing and creating truly social business models. If you want to see my full profile, you can see my life story at I run The Engaging Brand. I speak on social business models and I am host to The Engaging Brand podcast. I have a 1st class law degree, a Chartered Accountant and an MBA in one mixed up individual! Though is a great background for understanding how to engage, how to track social performance and doing it all within the legal frameworks. If you are looking for a speaker, a workshop, a coach..the give me a shout at [email protected]
Recent Activity
The new site can be found at If you subscribe via the RSS feed then can you change it to feed:// As really value our conversations! Any problems just let me know at [email protected] See you over there.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
With all that you have to do, it is easy to move from smiling broadly to merely keeping your head above water. The web is wonderful but it can act as fuel to feeling stressed out or not achieving what you want to do during the day. You read the books, you listen to podcasts and KNOW, really KNOW what you should be doing BUT that focus is wiped out each day by the mounting action lists. I know. I understand. I have been there. It feels awful doesn't it? Business stress comes from two main sources A lack of something! A lot of something! Stress thrives on the 'lacks' and the 'lots' of this world. A lack of time, money, focus, desire, momentum, control etc A lot of goals, decisions to make, pride, need to be liked, responsibility, targets etc Here is the thing though, stress whithers away when you move your focus from the why is it the why can't we do. Let's take a lack of finance. If you have a restricted budget that does not mean you can't do anything, it means you can do something. Even if there is a budget of nil, there are still free things that you CAN do. Let's take too many goals. Take each one and say why, what is the will find that when you take them up a level you can group them. Now working on one thing, delivers progress across two of your goals. There is no difference between a successful and mediocre business leader - they both live in a world of overexpectation and underfunding. The ONLY difference? They don't let the lack of or the abundance of....define what they do today, what they do in this moment. What they focus on is - what can be done, how you can achieve more with less, which imperfect choice is the best choice for their business. They don't believe in good or bad luck. They don't ponder on the what if's. They don't wish for something that isn't possible. They don't blame outside forces. No. The world is what it is. You always want more of something. You always want less of something. That's life. That's business. They make the best of what the circumstances are now, today, this very second. They make it happen, knowing that if it works they will eventually be able to invest more. They make it happen knowing an abundance of issues will not disappear without action. If you can' do everything, do something. If you haven't got everything, make the most of something. If there are a million reasons preventing you, don't blame - refine the key aim. Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
Interesting to ask but do you know your process for social marketing? Sounds odd but as with any business outcome there needs to be a process. Always remembering there is a world of difference between a process and a checklist! When people struggle they are treating social marketing as a 'paint by number' exercise. They listen to what others do and copy; they read a book and apply the actual examples to their business. That for me is a checklist NOT a process that will deliver great social marketing. Social is about your understanding the basics but then applying with your own voice and your distinct personality. Copying no, adapting...maybe So what is a process? A process is your pipeline of ideas. A process keeps your focus; focus on what makes your content social and your business different to the competition. You need to develop the social marketing process that works for you. The process has core elements A pipeline of ideas. How do you keep my mind full of ideas, full of conversations that you want to talk about? A way of keeping close to your customer's life. You need to build in time that allows you to think, see and feel like your customer. This allows you to take the ideas and turn it into shareable content. Using words that your customer uses, around problems or opportunities that your customers are seeing or feeling. A way of allowing people to share your content. This includes easy sharing buttons and different formats for people to share on their favourite sites. But what process do you have in place to stay close to the new tools? The way your target market shares? What people find 'shareable'? A measurement process. Otherwise how do you know what is (as well as isn't) working? That process is your system that keeps the content fresh and relevant to your audience. It is a repeatable process each day. And it is not about predictable outputs, it is about repeatable outputs. What on earth does that mean! Well, you need to remove what Steven Pressfield talks about as 'resistance', that little evil germ that tells you that you are too busy, too tired or too confused to create content. Establishing a process creates a habit; a habit which exercises the mind each day. A mind gym workout that builds your social muscle. What you write - the content you create - is...and indeed SHOULD NOT be the same each day. The process of creating DOES benefit from a habitual process. But the outcome, the actual content, needs to be fresh, new, distinct; connecting to your customer by being informational, entertaining or educational. You must develop a repeatable process to create fresh content that encourages the customer to repeat it, to their friends. The problem is that companies often mistable a repeatable process with repeating content! And far from being fresh, it is perceived as predictable. Not having a process means a haphazard process creates predictable content.... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
Serious question - why do you feed your children? You don't have do have a choice. Clearly there are laws that society have put in place to punish people who don't look after the vulnerable.....but you could choose not to..and take the consequences? So I ask again why? Do you see it as your honour to look after the vulnerable? Do you do it because you love them...even if they don't clean their room?? Do you do it without even thinking why....because you naturally want to nurture? Do you do it even when you are busy and hardly have the time? Now....think about that and I want to ask one more question Why wouldn't you want to 'feed' your customers? Social marketing, social media is nutrition for your marketplace. Your customers are hungry for answers, for their passions to be met, for easy, simple solutions....they are STARVING...and are looking for people who feed ideas, feed answers....who care enough about their passion to do it, even when they are tired or busy. Not a parent who give their child some loose change and say "nip and get some sweets as I am too busy to feed you" but a brand parent which will show their love by making that time, by giving content with unconditional love, by doing it not because they have to...but because they want to... And a business who wants to because they love their customers, they want to because they are passionate about their topic and they want to reach out and share that passion. They make time because they care, they respect and love those people who might want to share their hard earned money with them...they want to give because of what that could bring to others not for what they might receive. Unconditional loyalty is earned; unconditional love is engaging. Brands struggle because their brand nutrition is conditional.....either it is produced because it has to be or it is for the wrong reason. What if you offered unconditional content marketing out of love, what if you fed your customers out of love...because you saw it as your human role? Imagine how love engages...and for a second, just imagine what the difference would be to the content that you create... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
The Engaging Brand podcast covers social marketing, business ideas and brand marketing tips. Anna Farmery talks to Mark Penson, CMO of Survey Anyplace, an expert in using mobile surveys to get real-time customer feedback. In this podcast the questions posed are... Are mobile surveys right for you? What do they offer your brand? You can read more about Mark's ideas on Using Mobile Surveys to Gain Customer Insights in this Engaging Brand post. We discuss What is the definition of modern market research? Is mobile market research more independent than customer focus groups? Is emotion stronger at the point of purchase and should market research adjust their market research data to recognise that? Market research at the point of purchase delivers benefit to the brand - but what is the value to the consumer? The importance of providing a customer incentive to fill out a customer survey. The role of gamification in market research. Are mobile surveys only valuable in real time? The Listener of the Week is - chosen from anyone who shared about last weeks podcast. For your chance to win next week just share this post! (Tweet this) Remember as a listener you can download 30 Lessons on Social Leadership Powers - Anna's new ebook is now available on Kindle. 1) You can listen now If you use a different podcatcher then you can subscribe using the following RSS Feed or visit iTunes. Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
Mobile surveys is something that intrigues me - so I asked Mark Penson to share his insights into mobile surveys (watch out tomorrow for our interview on The Engaging Brand podcast). Here are Mark's views on gaining valuable customer insights. Forget Email Surveys: Use Mobile Surveys for Immediate Customer Insights Paper surveys have probably been around since papyrus. We’ve always been interested to know what others were thinking, right? We’ve all seen the surveyors at the grocery store, armed with clipboard, pen and paper form, intercepting folks lugging bags out to their cars to ask about products and services. In-home surveys came via parcel post, in over-stuffed envelopes with any manner of surveys, from private businesses to the city collecting opinions about new urbanization plans. As PCs became more popular, so did online surveys. But while they improved ease of distribution compare to paper, email surveys still left a lot of qualitative room for improvement. People are busy when they’re online at work, and doing any number of things on their home computer that have nothing to do with waiting to take a survey. Alas, harried shoppers, people sorting their mail and over-worked employees are not ideal survey candidates. After all, the more reasons you give them to avoid your survey the less likely you are to get valuable feedback—if you get any feedback at all. Email surveys aren’t keeping up with the times When email surveys don’t automatically land in a recipient’s junk mail folder, they’re often ushered there by the very person it was intended for—hardly the interaction the surveyor intended. It’s no wonder that email response rates are off the wrong end of the charts these days, and getting further afield. When responses do come in, the value of the information is limited. Why? Because of the lag between the interaction with the brand and the customer actually answering the survey. The business has to collect the email address, get the email to the right department or outside resource to add to the database, and then work it into the survey stream. If the email address is an accurate one, and if the survey doesn’t land in the trash, an email survey often lingers for days before the recipient gets around to answering it. This lag works against the collection of time-sensitive consumer insights like wanting details of a customer’s experience to a car dealership or a bed-and-breakfast. Or soliciting the nuances of a meal or event. The value of the insights, and the details consumers can recall decreases as the time between their experience and answering your survey increases. It’s logical, but for too long has sufficed as the norm. Clearly, email surveys’ role in collecting viable, valuable consumer feedback to inform marketing and other functions is limited at best. At worst, it’s a waste of time and money. It’s time for a new norm. Use people’s mobile devices to ask them about your brand—while they’re experiencing your brand Fewer and fewer people leave their homes... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
Speak the truth not spin. Speak in words we understand. Speak as if you have lived rather than studied. European and local elections have been held in the UK this week and irrelevant of your political views, it is another sign that people just don't do spin. Why is the voting so unpredictable? Why is there anti establishment movement? Listening to people about why and how they voted, people are tired of the constant soundbits, the evasive answers, the collective message rather than the party line. They are tired of being manipulated by messaging and brands need to recognise this is not just happening in politics.... media is your customer's voting system. Liken that to customer service and brands can learn some key lessons Listening does not mean what the "spin doctors" think people are means listening from living in the world rather than your business world. If you make a mistake, just say sorry. Just tell the truth and deal with it as openly as possible. Policitians across all parties don't seem to want to admit mistakes, yet we all make them. Admit them, move on and work hard to put them right. Values are important. If you don't hold yourself to the standards you espouse, no one will ever believe the words you say. That means losing great people, it means removing friends which is tough....but without hard decisions on individuals you risk the welfare of the whole. Answer the question asked by your customer rather than giving the line that has been agreed by your brand. Being successful in the past is no guarantee for the future. You biggest competitor....complacency. The value of the truth. People see through lies, no matter how well you think you have hidden them. Words have the power to change the world. Imagine if Martin Luther King had said "I have knocked on doors and understand your issues. From that we have created policies. If I was in power, then I would have a mission which will be tracked by key performance indicators" People demand honesty. People demand an answer. People demand accountability. Therein lies a business opportunity.....because the brands that can ACTUALLY deliver their promises, ACCEPT when they fall short, ADDRESS what caused it and APPEAR human whilst they do all this...will be way ahead of their competition! Do you have the 4 A approach to your customer? Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
With social marketing, it can be difficult to understand how to sell in a world when you are told NOT to..... Don't sell just create great social marketing; you understand the advice but reasons don't pay the bills! So how do we reconcile - 'marketing great reasons' with actually 'selling' to keep your business going? Here is how I like to think about it.... In years gone by, we had two and selling. One gave the reasons and one built the relationships so those reasons were heard. Now we have the web and the web replaces the miles of driving up and down the motorway delivering those messages. We don't need a car, we need a content strategy to define the right road to the right customer! So does that mean that sales is dead? Should we put all of our resources behind marketing? No. BUT we do need a mindset change. We need to think about teams of people, rather than functions, teams who create the ideas and the reasons why your are different and why people should buy from you. We then need to 'sell' these ideas and reasons to our internal teams so they understand, and buy in to, the real difference your product or service makes to the market. The best way to do this is to communicate in person, have honest open discussions that link the concepts to your business mission, your business plan and the goals of those individiuals. We then create content that travels up and down the motorway! Each time a potential customer interacts with us they sense our passion, they sense our message, they sense a unified brand. So IT creates a website that reflects the message. HR recruits talent that buy into the message. Finance develops reports to show not just the numbers but the measurement of the objectives. Production search for ways to improve the efficiency, quality and speed of the core elements of the service or production. Credit control act as problem solvers. They highlight issues which are causing issues to the customer, they don't accept credits as part of the business they work tirelessly with the business to remove excuses not to pay. Choose your department - they don't do a "job" they are on a mission to use the skills of their department to help strengthen the reason to buy. You then leave the selling element to the customer. The customer WANTS to buy - it is just that their inner mind is looking for reasons not to! The more you remove the problems, the more you give reasons why they SHOULD buy, then you remove their inner resistance and get them to convert their own mind. You follow up, you make every transaction the same so that the customer then acts as a referral engine to their friends. They are not the sales people for your brand as some would say....they are your marketers. They give reasons why their friends should convert THEIR inner... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
You know what to do, it is just how to do it. You read. You listen. You learn. You know the mechanics behind the success of other brands....yet, you are still frustrated about how to power your brand forward. Often the difference between success and failure in business is belief. True, honest belief. Belief based on strong ideas, clarity of thought and knowing that you will have failures but failure will be a gate to improvement not a barrier to progress. However, there is a problem with the word 'belief'? Anyone spot it? There are two different vowels and three in total and yet it is spelt without the most important one...U! U need to believe in your brand - no compromise, only checks to ensure that it remains relevant and fresh. A brand without belief is not a brand, it is a dream. U need to believe before your customer will believe. Belief is contagious. U need to create the reasons - and believe in them - of why you are different and why a customer should choose you. Belief comes from knowing and understanding your work. U need to believe that social marketing will work IF you keep doing the right things for the right reasons to the right people....over the medium term. This is not a short term fix; it is an ongoing philosophy of putting the customer first. U need to believe that social is not a digital revolution but a mindset revolution. Belief comes from persuading your mind first, before turning to the minds of others. U need to believe in your customer or potential customers. The more you believe in their voice, the more they will believe in your brand. Without belief you will not succeed. Others may doubt and that is good! They can act as a check on your thinking. Blind belief is as bad as no belief! Belief is the missing ingredient between how social megastars feel about their brand which makes them want to be social....and how the ordinary folks who create because they feel they have to .... Belief is the glue between your business and your social content. Without belief you write without passion, without belief you think about product and service .....with belief you talk passionately about reasons rather than mundane specifications. Belief is free - however it is expensive. Expensive because you have to invest your time to truly understand why you do believe, how to explain your passion and remove the blocks that prevent your belief running through all that you do. Those blocks act like a dam, holding back that belief from becoming flowing down to customers. Those dams need your attention. Now. Today. Not tomorrow. Those dams need to be removed quickly because their removal frustration will posion your belief over time. So ask yourself - do I really, really, truly believe in what I do? If I don't why? Deal with anything on the list. If I do, how do I find... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
You look around where you work. You look at all the webinar success stories. You then look at your business and at your success. You feel that as much as you work hard, do the right don't seem to be as successful as everyone else. Why do you bother? Social doesn't work for you, like it works for everyone else..... Now imagine a comparison that is actually work making...a comparison that shows whether you are doing the right things, whether you are making progress and whether your company is succeeding in both earning attention and converting attention to sales. The latter comparison is what you should be concentrating is is tangible evidence that you are living social rather than being social and it is simply this... You see people hold webinars to convince you there is a secret sauce...a trick that you are missing.....a trick that could turn your struggling world into one of financial plenty. They make success sound so easy BUT they are distorting the truth...why? Well, because the truth is much harder to hear. Social success is created by doing the right thing, each day to the right people for the right reasons. (Tweet this) It is hard graft. It can be lonely. It can feel like one step forward and two steps back. It can feel frustrating. It can be exhausting....just like the rest of business! Social does not remove the pitfalls of business, it merely increases the opportunities for business (Tweet this) That is why I believe in measurement. Not because I am a trained Chartered Accountant. Not because numbers tell the whole story. But because it gives you a trendline. It gives you the only comparison that is worth making... Data allows you to compare the "brand you" of today to the "brand you" of yesterday, of yesteryear....and allows you to assess this important question "Am I living social, demonstrating social and making a difference in other people's lives?" (Tweet this) If you, are the trendline will be up. If you are being rather than living social, the trendline will be down. Social marketing at it's core is about connection. Not in the sense of collecting followers BUT in the sense of connecting TO someone's mind. Data is an expression of how well you are connecting to the mind of your intended audience. It is not about quantity, it is about quality. It is not about likes, it is about moving your audience from passive followers to active customers. (Tweet this) It is not about followers of your brand, it is about engaged fans of your brand.(Tweet this) It is not about connectionS, it is about connectING. (Tweet this) It is not about comparing your data to others, it is about comparing your data to who you were yesterday. Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
The Engaging Brand podcast covers social marketing, business ideas and brand marketing tips. Anna Farmery talks to Chandler Bolt about being a Productive Person. Chandler who you can contact via email - [email protected] ".. began early (age 11) by selling his personal snacks at scout camp and, by age 17 he hired his friends to help him operate his landscaping business that earned him $10,000 for college. All in all, by age 20 he started and ran over $320,000 in businesses and received the "Entrepreneur of the Year" award from Young Entrepreneurs Across America." We covered: What created his entrepreneurial spirit? How to work hard but create a balance with freedom today.. Why working longer hours is not the answer to career success. The concept of mind refreshing which can help you do more work in less time. How to stop your mind from wandering when working. The 3 things that you need to decide to become a more Productive Person. How to keep on track without getting sidetracked during the day. How to deal with loneliness as an entrepreneur and how a buddy can help you achieve greater business success. How to be a productive seller on social marketing. The Listener of the Week is Harry Luther - chosen from anyone who shared about last weeks podcast. For your chance to win next week just share this post! (Tweet this) Remember as a listener you can download 30 Lessons on Social Leadership Powers - Anna's new ebook is now available on Kindle. 1) You can listen now If you use a different podcatcher then you can subscribe using the following RSS Feed or visit iTunes. Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
You can hold back. Your worries can stop you from acting on your gut instinct, that same gut instinct that got you this far. Our desire to get it right, gets in the way of releasing our passion. Yet we know passion sells. How do we balance our gut instinct with the desire to get it right? Risk is a natural part of business and if we are close enough to our customers, close enough to our market then risk should be part of our gut instinct. We can destroy any idea by overthinking. Yes, we need to think and reflect before a decision however we also need to learn to trust ourselves. Patti LaBelle is renowned for her performance on stage...of what she calls just "letting go". She argues that "If you hold back, you lose it and your audience knows it" What if we just let go and let us be the social animal that we naturally are? What if we released ourselves to be ourselves? What if we released others around us to be themselves? What if we let rip and just tried things.....we can always stop, reinvent or change if it doesn't work out? What if we forgot about branding and let our voice be the brand? (Tweet this) What if we concentrated on getting the right people, with the right values and holding them to those values...and then said " I trust you all. Go, let yourselves?" Many entrepreneurs that I work with, know WHAT to do. Many entrepreneurs don't back their own judgement. Many entrepreneurs start their company and then start playing it safe. I understand why, of course I do.....BUT remember playing it safe is risky. Playing it safe was not the reason you started the business; playing it safe is not the same as playing the percentages. You are the soul of your brand. You are the main reason why people chose to work with you..... Business needs freedom but freedom with boundaries. The boundaries are the market that you serve, the values that you live by, the services that you offer. Within those boundaries should lie the freedom to express the HOW. Here is a challenge.....when was the last time you just let rip? When was the last time you backed your own judgement? When was the last time you tried even though it might fail? When was the last time you released yourself from being a business person and being the person who helped build this business? You know how to be you better than anyone else. Social is about being you. (Tweet this) You know your market better than anyone else. Demonstrate it. (Tweet this) You know your limits but there is plenty of space to play up to those limits! (Tweet this) Back yourself. Let rip. Start passionately loving your work. Passion sells. (Tweet this) Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
When you close the lid on your computer tonight, there is only one question to ask Success comes from hard work; hard work on doing something you love towards your goal. (Tweet this) We spend a lot of time wondering what the customer wants, delighting the customer...quite rightly. But the easiest way to do that is to be the most loyal customer of what you do. When you are proud of what you do, when you sit down with you coffee at night if you are proud of your work rather than exhausted from merely doing work, then you will be on the right path to convince others. Here is a little checklist to ask yourself to see whether you are proud of your work P = Purpose. You can look at all you did and achieved today and know, really know that you have made a step towards your life's purpose. R = Rewarding. How many times did your work make you smile today and even more importantly, how many times did your work make others smile today? Smiles are a wonderful yardstick for being proud of what you do. O = Own. Did you own your decisions and actions. Hiding behind others does not increase happiness, it decreases your feeling of control. U = Understand. Do you and your team how today's work contributes to the larger goal? D = Dignity. Dignity is such an underused word and yet when people show diginity, they show respect for others. The social media world loves dignity - both in success and in defeat. So were you dignified in all that you did and all that you said today? We may not all be billionaires in terms of money but then I don't strive to be.....that does not guarantee happiness. Strive to be a smile billionaire and allow the world to reward you back! (Tweet this) Here is something that I am proud of The 30 Day of other challenging questions is now available on Kindle! Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
WARNING! There is an illness that spreads quickly across your business. It can be devastating. It can ruin your plans for success. It is awful. And the worst happens when you are not looking...It is called the Failure Virus. It invades your brain and changes the definition of one of the words that you have learned. Now don't worry you can spot the symptons early and provide the ideal remedy....but let us identify the word that is affected ACT We learned that to act, within a business context, means to take action BUT the failure virus rewires your brain and when you see the word action it replaces action with acting. What this means is that we talk through action points. We talk about what action we will take. We create action lists. We say we are taking action. However, what actually happens is that we pretend...we act as though we are but the reality is that we are putting on a great performance that Dame Judi Dench would be proud of...rather than actually taking action. You see acting like you are being social, acting like you believe in social marketing, is NOT taking action. It is ultimately 'doing' without the commitment that will deliver customer engagement. Consumers can see through acting. They see through automation. They see through sales pitches. They see acting...not action. And internally, we may appear busy but it doesn't generate leads, increase revenue or customer engagement. Why? Because it is acting as if we are doing something, rather than taking action to create success. And this failure leads to disillusionment. It leads to a sense of powerlessness. It leads to people thinking that no matter how hard they try, they ever achieve success. However there is an antedote to this business disease. There is a way of protecting your business from this failure virus....there is the action antidote! The antidote is the realisation that you are deciding 'what' needs to be done without Really understanding the 'why'...and it is the why that creates the motivation to do it. Really understanding the best 'how'....and this renders the action a dream rather than a goal....and dreams rarely come true! Really understanding the right measurements to ensure action does not slip into acting. And by NOT adding these ingredients the failure virus creates busy-ness without results rather than results for your business. Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
If I could offer you a quick tip that could significantly help your business - would you be interested? If I said this tip costs nothing but delivers everytime you do it - would you want to know more? Well here it is free of charge and with all my love x Be intentional about your intent! Just think about your day. Think about the way you build relationships, think about the way you market what you do..... Do you know why you do what you do? Do you know what you want your customer to feel when they consider purchasing from you? Do you clearly connect your product/service... to a reason to buy to... a call to action? Do you have a clear vision with a clear plan that will take you there? Do you have a way of measuring whether you are on plan? Do you know why you are attending events, connecting with people, blogging, tweeting etc? The truth is...many of us don't. We make the mistake of thinking 'doing things that others do' will lead to similar results. It won't. The missing ingrediet is intent. People who are successful have a clear intent with all that they do... Every deed does not need a specific reason BUT each deed needs to be intentionally done. (Tweet this) With everything in our inbox, with reports and meetings...we can lose our focus.Indeed it is easy to lose focus, we are almost taught not to ask why we are doing things....but Business needs focus and that focus comes from acting intentionally. (Tweet this) If you take a look at your business plan. If you review your calendar. If you review your decisions. If you review how you are planning to spend your time today....ask yourself What is the intent of this time investment? Is this action taking a step towards your overall intent of your business? Intent moves your busy-ness to an effective business (Tweet this) Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
You feel that you have a lot to lose. You could lose your job, lose your company or lose your reputation. And when you feel that you have a lot to lose then you can become a perfectionist, you can take the safe option. I have felt this and if you haven't then...I suspect you will at some time in your life! Lenny Kravitz gave a masterclass this weekend on the Oprah Channel and he was discussing his perfectionist tendency. He related a conversation that he had with Robert Plant who gave him some home truths.....Robert Plant said he needed to let go, Kravitz was allowing his desire to deliver the best possible concert was taking the enjoyment out of the performance. He needed to 'let go' and enjoy himself. This piece of advice changed him and I hope it changes YOU too. Enjoyment is infectious. Enjoyment is engaging. People buy enjoyment or buy from people who enjoy their work. But let me ask you.....How often do you 'let go' in your business life? How often is your business stifled by rules, procedures, systems......(Tweet this) How often do you stop yourself because you are frightened about what people will think? Now clearly there are times when systems and rules are valuable BUT they should be there as a check not a barrier to you or your team. Social marketing, and even the wider social business age in which we live, needs you to enjoy your life, your business and your customers. Social needs you to 'let go' of hiding behind a brand and start 'being' the brand. (Tweet this) Business is hard. It has to be hard. We are asking customers to give us their hard earned cash. But we must never mistake the idea of business being hard, meaning that we shouldn't enjoy our business life. When we enjoy business, we give ourselves a greater chance of being successful. (Tweet this) So this week look at what is stopping you from enjoying your work. Look at what is stopping others around you, from not enjoying their work. And make a Kravtiz promise.....'let go' of worries, trust yourself and the people around you to be professional AND full of personality. Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
The Engaging Brand podcast covers social marketing, business ideas and brand marketing tips. Anna Farmery talks to Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, senior adviser at global executive search firm Egon Zehnder about the forthcoming It's Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014). It was a wonderful discussion that covered: What is the definition of talent? Where the word headhunter comes from and why headhunting does not always work. Why looking for the perfect person to fit a role is wrong - whether for a leadership role or a friendship role in your life. How interviews are a "conversations between two liars" How we need to take responsibility for our own career. How rearing calves taught Claudio a valuable recruitment lesson! The key skill of customer impact - the best skill you can show and find. Have you got a 'forestry strategy' for your company? An inertia on addressing talent problems. The Listener of the Week is Jarmo Hyperionn, again from Scandanavia - thank you for your iTunes review! For your chance to win next week just share this post! (Tweet this) Remember as a listener you can download 30 Lessons on Social Leadership Powers - the new ebook for just 99p using the discount code ilovebob. 1) You can listen now If you use a different podcatcher then you can subscribe using the following RSS Feed or visit iTunes. Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
You have a great product. You have a great service. You build a website and yet.....success doesn't flow...why? I mean the offer is irresistable isn't it? You then realise that people don't know that the offer is there...once they do...they will buy. So you starting 'telling' people about your irresistable offer. Still they don't come. You start asking whether the web, whether social marketing is truly the answer to your business prayers. You become disillusioned. At this point you need to sit in a quiet room, grab a piece of paper and write down "Social marketing is about making your content so irresistable, that people want to know more about what you offer" Unless you want to sell a commodity where price is the deciding factor, an irresistable offer won't work. The social element is adding that irresistability to everything that you do; it is about creating reasons why people want to talk to you, want to know more, want to find out more. Think about your friends. Have you one or two friends you just love being in their company? They are offering the same thing as all your other friends...companionship and friendship....but it is the way they show it that makes them irresistable. Now write down what is it that makes them stand out....just write down adjectives to describe them. Compare those adjectives to your social content. Do they match? Irresistability creates profit. It is the difference between the pure cost of the product and the benefit to the customer. Your role is to add that irresistabilty, your role in business is to add that premium value. Social marketing is merely the demonstration of that value. It is you displaying that premium understanding. It is about YOU being that best friend to consumers. The question for today is "Do people see your brand as their best friend or a friend who only rings when they need something?" Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
Business can be messy but there again life can be too.....Just when you think things are going great then a large speed bump comes along to test your resolve. Life is like this and as much as we would love to sail through a happy trouble free life, we know life isn't like that. So why do we expect business to be constant, consistent saless growth - after all business is part of life! No, we will have surges to attention, profit spikes followed by failed product launches or even a customer going under when they owe us money. It is not the bumps in the road that we can always avoid, it is whether we have the right shock absorbers to get us over them! Are you ready for those bumps, are you ready to enjoy the gorgeous open roads ASWELL as the boneshaker country roads which test your resolve? In business most people can do a great job when things are going well, the test of a great leader...the test of a great how they respond to the bad days. We can prepare ourselves yet often this is put off until tomorrow. And we all know that tomorrow never comes.....Here are some ways to ease those bumpy roads.. Dad always taught me to look ahead. When he was teaching me to drive he said it is important to keep your eyes looking at the road in front NOT just the next few yards. This is true in business. This is true in life. We often remain blind to future problems....not because we can't see them looming but because we don't want to see a problem. However seeing a problem ahead means you can do something about it today! How often do you take 15 minutes to look at possible risks and plan a route around them? Keep something in reserve to cope with problems, be it financial, marketing, bad PR etc This is especially true with energy - remember sometimes you have to recognise when to give up a smaller battle to win the war. How often do you waste energy fighting battles that are not critical? How often do you waste energy doing tasks rather than working on the business? Belief is a huge part of coping with the bad times. Do you truly believe in what you are doing? How often do you check that belief and reaffirm your belief? Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
"I need to create buzz around an event - should I promote it on Facebook or Twitter?" Wouldn't it be lovely if we could have immediate success? Unfortunately that is as rare as me not ordering a dessert at the end of a meal! Social marketing is not a quick fix, but then what is? The clue is in the phrase 'business earnings'.. Any business worth gaining, is business worth earning. And earning means doing those hard yards. Hard yards is another way of saying "giving to the market - consistently, constantly and with commitment" Social marketing is NOT for everyone. If you like to control who sees your content, if you want to dip in and out of social marketing, if you think about what YOU need first....then social marketing is not for you! And that is fine. That is OK. You can still find a way.. it may need a larger budget to persuade people to buy from buying attention or investing in others to talk about you...but that may be the best way for you. But if you want to make use of social marketing then you need to commit to social marketing. Commitment needs you to focus on relationship building and with any building it needs... A plan. A blueprint of what the ideal relationship will look like....know thyself, know thy customer, know thy market! Foundations. It needs consistent commitment over the medium term. It needs you to give more than you receive, it needs you to think about what is your 'shareability' factor. Structure. It needs focus. Focus on which tools to use, focus on valuable content, focus on consistency over time. Humanity. Buildings are just bricks and mortar, what makes them wonderful homes are the people....your social marketing needs to be human. It needs you to speak, share, create in a human voice not business jargon. Social marketing is not a tap that you can turn on when YOU want a is a platform built over time from which you can show the world why they should connect with you. The questions for today is "Are you building a shack from spare wood in your garage or have you created a blueprint, put in place the support the structure and made it THE home that your customers want to visit?" Why not try the 30 day challenge to Business Super Powers? Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
Do you worry or have friends that constantly worry? When I coach businesses, often it's about managing worries. Worries need to be broken down into two parts Worries about risk which are legitimate but manageable. These type of worries are good..they test your belief in what you are doing, they test your thinking and make sure that you make the right decisions; but you do need to make that decision! Worries about failure. This is felt by everyone. I don't care who you are, at some point you will have a lack of confidence...and that is good. Having a lack of confidence means that you don't think you are magical, that you are should ensure that you keep learning. It should be used to listen....but here is the trick, you listen to the customer not that hidden competitor that loves to hide in your mind. Failure is necesary. Just read any autobiography and it will contain wonderful anecdotes of failures before that final 'overnight success'. I don't seem the point of worrying. I have never been a worrier because Dad always said "What is the point of worrying? If you can do something, do it...and if you can't... then why worry about something that you can't change!" In business you need to learn how to manage worry. Worries won't go away, but they need you to manage them. If they are left to grow then they eventually invade your body and render you powerless. If you use them to test your belief, test your management of risk....then worries turn from being your hidden competitor to helping you become more competitive. Today's question you allow worry to stop you from growing or do you allow worry to fuel a stronger growth? P.S Don't forget to listen to Melonie Dodaro on how to make the most out of LinkedIn to remove even more worries! Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
The Engaging Brand podcast covers social marketing, business ideas and brand marketing tips. Anna Farmery speaks with Melonie Dodaro of Top Dog Social Media, Canada's No.1 LinkedIn expert to find out more about the power of LinkedIn. Many of us use it...but do we really get the most from it? The statistics that suggest that we should take a new look at LinkedIn. Who is LinkedIn for and why it is growing as a source of referrals. What is LinkedIn? A social platform, a social networking site or a digital rolodex? What makes a great LinkedIn profile for business referrals? How to optimise a LinkedIn profile without sounding 'spammy'. The confusion between the LinkedIn profile and the LinkedIn business page. The etiquette of Linkedin. How to make your LinkedIn profile client focused. How to build your credibility on LinkedIn. Does LinkedIn work better for one sector? The power of search that LinkedIn offers you. The future of LinkedIn as a social media platform Apologies about Listener of the Week - I beg for your apologies as I didn't get chance to pick up all the alerts for the show...but the shares will roll forward to next week I promise! For your chance to win next week just share this post! (Tweet this) Remember as a listener you can download 30 Lessons on Social Leadership Powers - the new ebook for just 99p using the discount code ilovebob. 1) You can listen now If you use a different podcatcher then you can subscribe using the following RSS Feed or visit iTunes. Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
You make the break, you start your new business or a new role. You start your very first day with such hope and enthusiasm. Then... gets hard... because you have to turn ideas in action and invariably budgets are tight. Ideas are easy; putting them into action well, that is tough! Slowly over time, that initial enthusiasm turns into dismay, frustration or maybe even doubt....You start to wonder have you made the wrong move? What do you do? How do you find that desire to blast through the barriers and succeed? In this Ted Talk video there is a wonderful message for anyone in business. It is a talk from Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame and it resonated with what I truly believe ...that you have to find your truth, stick with it and let it take you home! When I launched The Engaging Brand I struggled until I realised that my business needed to be my passion...not what I thought I should do, not what people asked me to do, not what paid the bills. I had to find what Elizabeth Gilbert calls in this talk... 'home' and for me that was quite a long journey after years in the corporate world. I had to strip away the corporate skin and find what truly makes me happy. I had to find a way to express myself in a way that made others happy AND most importantly me happy. Nowadays I speak, I write, I mentor people who I believe I can help, who I believe I can make smile. I work with people who don't want the suited professional who speaks jargon, I bounce on stage....I express my ideas through little Bob cartoons, I am writing simple life and business guides. I write like I speak, I speak how I write. I mentor like I am and I live by what I mentor. Some people will love it. Some people will hate it. That's OK. That is life. I have got over myself, my worries and my desire to be liked by everyone. I would rather make a small group of people smile with my enthusiasm, honesty and observations....than try and make money by appealing to all. It was a hard lesson but it was a great lesson. For the last few years I have connected with so many great people. I have made people smile because of who I am NOT. Now here is the weird thing...over that period my business has flourised more than ever... which goes to show "Being something to someone is better than being nothing to everyone" Watch and think... What is your home? Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
Are you someone who can get bogged down 'doing' rather than thinking about what you should be doing! What if there was a secret to growing your business rather than growing your busy-ness? Well, this week I was listening to an interview with Evelyn Glennie the inspirational solo percussist who lost her hearing as a child. She said something that I believe all business leaders could learn from...she said in response to whether her hearing aid affects her music "I take it out" Now just think about that....of all the people you would imagine hearing would be important to, it would be a musician, wouldn't you? She continued... "I take it out as I don't want to hear the music, I want to feel the music" Isn't that powerful? We all consume information, watch videos, create action lists...but what if we tried ''feeling our business". Now I know that sounds all dreamy but it is not meant in that way....I just believe that If we can't feel what our customers want If we can't feel what our teams need If we can't feel what is right If we can't feel what needs to be done Then are we truly close enough to our business? No training course can give you specifically what YOU need, leaders need to learn the questions they need to ask and learn how to relate it to their business. Relating needs feeling, both in personal and business relationships. You see I think we fall into doing jobs, things, actions....instead of taking out our 'hearing aids' such as meetings, reports, courses. To really, truly, deeply feel the business, feel the marketplace that has to come from within... Until we feel what our business stands for, feel the sense of direction and feel we are part of the business...then we are in danger of doing things in our role rather than thinking about what we should be doing. The question is..... Can you spare 15 minutes this week to think about how you feel about the business, how the market feels about you....and what you feel you needs to happen to the connect the two? For more probing questions to help you grow your business try our little e-book of Super Powers! Supplied at Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at The Engaging Brand
In business you can often feel unless you do it yourself then it won't be done right. Business can turn you from a normal, accomodating person into a control freak....maybe not all the time but certainly at those stressful moments. When I was in my early twenties I was promoted to Managing Director. It was a huge responsilbility and my boss - who had been promoted to Group - gave me some wonderful advice... "Anna, when you lead a business you are not the captain, you are the navigator. Don't try and control everything...learn to navigate....steer people...and they will take the business where it needs to go" It is true for business, it is true for social business. You only gain a degree of control by NOT wanting control (Tweet this) You don't grab control, control is given by people who respect you. (Tweet this) So how do you earn respect? You need a clear vision which people understand. You need to choose, build and mold the right team. Then you need to step away....become the navgiator not the captain. When we try and impose ideas in social marketing or within our business..we repel rather than compel people to want to follow our ideas. Often we shy away from the navigator role as it feels uncomfortable. To be a good navigator you need to truly understand what your business is, where you want to take your business and how the business will get there.....and that is scary as we might be wrong! But we forget.....wrong is not final if we remain flexible to changes along the way. Strong navigators keep the end destination in mind but are willing to change course when necessary. (Tweet this) The question is do you try and captain rather than navigate your passengers to the destination they want to go? Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at The Engaging Brand