Nuggets of Knowledge: Connection

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Nuggets of Knowledge

These reads–fresh picked for you from the Genuinely team–focus on connection. Whether it’s finding your tribe, cultivating self-awareness and a positive attitude, using stories to bond, or practicing courageous vulnerability, these posts will provide additional insight on how to find and foster connection with your people.


bookreviewbecomingwise.wideaBecoming Wise

by Krista Tippett

In this 10-min. podcast, Krista Tippett and Seth Godin explore how the internet allows us to find and connect with “our tribes,” and the vast potential the internet offers us as a way to bring together community. “The digital world hands us a power to create our own tribes bound by passion and service, quite apart from bloodline or geography.”


62fuGWQNRxeD2xT3iDGy_140302_katia0682The Remarkable Advantage of Abundant Thinking

by First Round and  Katia Verresen

Does the drudgery of doing business get you down? Here’s a good article – and a practical one, too – about abundant thinking. Though this is a good read for anyone, because we can all use techniques to get out of pessimism and into abundance, these are particularly important lessons for leaders as they are the ones motivating and driving, and relying on, their teams. Through self mastery, neutrality, priming, self compassion, generosity, and gratitude, Verresen says you can move into abundant thinking. And, make a significant impact on your team. “When you build a tribe of people you support, you’re building a tribe that will support you.”


diary-968603_960_720Tough News: We’ve Made 10 Layoffs. How We Got Here, the Financial Details, and How We’re Moving Forward

by Joel Gascoigne

Joel Gascoigne, Co-Founder of Buffer provides a transparent account of the current state of the company, the reason for their recent layoffs, and the changes they’re making to recover. Having the courage to communicate and connect with their community on this level is the ultimate display of vulnerability and authenticity.


U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III trip to CaliforniaThe Pivotal Stories Every Startup Leader Should be Able to Tell

by First Round

A long(er) read about how powerful stories can be for the leader who is looking to foster connection and build more fulfilling relationships with the people on his or her team.


workplace-615375_960_720

8 Rules for Creating Passionate Work Culture

by Paul Alofs

You’ll see it everywhere: employees want more than a paycheck. They want passion, connection, and a goal. Cultivating that work culture where employees feel comfortable enough to do that is an essential step, and Paul Alofs has eight easy tips to do it.


4 jonathan-mcintosh-flickr-1725x810_26899Extreme Habits of Highly Successful Teams

by Jeff Haden

Just because your team is spread out across the country doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate your own workplace culture and forge essential working connections. Jeff Haden has four tips on how to do just that.


Evolve or Die: How Authenticity Builds Durable Brands

By | Building Community, Mack's Musings, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web Marketing | No Comments
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Mack had the honor of speaking at Unbounce’s 2016 #CTAConf where she brought Evolve or Die: How Authenticity Builds Durable Brands to the stage. What follows is the highlights of her talk that explore what’s required to build a successful and durable brand in the digital age.


Imagine your company is competing in a fairly saturated and competitive industry like fast food. You’ve been around for a little while but you’re really just getting started. You have something new and different and you’re ready to take the world by storm.

Taking on the world

Now imagine that you’re up against companies like McDonald’s who spent $800 million on their advertising in 2013. Or Panera Bread who spent $55 million on their marketing efforts in that same year.

Imagine this is your competition and these are their marketing budgets. What would your marketing strategy be? How would your company contend?

How would your company compete?

Chipotle did. In 2013 they spent a fraction of what their competitors did — less than $10 million — on their advertising and marketing efforts and they had a much greater impact because they were doing things like this:

  • Creating videos like the Scarecrow that takes a stand and challenges how the fast food industry typically operates and sources its food.
  • Holding free festivals like Cultivate where people celebrate good food and music and connect with each other.
  • Sponsoring a “Food for Thought” column on the Huffington Post that is dedicated to creating awareness about how food is grown and the effects this system has on our world.
  • Investing in better ways of working that gives their employees more authority and empowers them to be better leaders.

All of these things that Chipotle has been doing aren’t just marketing campaigns. This is what they believe in as a company and this is authentically how they operate.

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And that is what has contributed to their durability and growth over the last decade.  From 2006 to 2015, Chipotle has grown revenue from $820 million to more than $4.5 billion.

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So how did Chipotle’s approach bring this much growth? And how can you learn from it to grow your business in the digital age?

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There’s no doubt that if you want to compete in the digital age, you must have a stellar product or service, and you have to provide a cross-channel experience that is unparalleled.

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Ultimately, these things must be baked into your DNA; this is the new status quo. But more than that, you have to build an authentic, human company. And here’s why:

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More than 63% of consumers would rather buy from a company they consider to be authentic over the competition.

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In that same Cohn & Wolfe study, the #1 behavior that people expect of brands is the fact that they communicate openly and honestly about their products and services. They don’t let their customers down, and that they act with integrity at all times. Because people want to relate to you, they want trust you and know you’re going to do what you say.

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Additionally, a BBMG study shows that when people are trying to figure out who to buy from, 73% of people care about the company, not just the product when they’re making purchasing decisions.

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And when people care about your company, they tell their friends. And word of mouth is responsible for more than 50% of all purchasing decisions.

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The fact of the matter is, in this face-paced, digital world, if you want to earn and keep your customers, build a community of advocates who will support you and tell their friends about you, your approach to marketing must shift. It’s not just about how your company is packaged, it’s about who your company is.

If your company wants growth in the digital age, your business (and your marketing) needs 3 things:

  1. You need to build from purpose
  2. You need to do the work to connect with people
  3. You need to keep your promises

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Chances are, your company or the company you work for is in business because you want to make some money. You want to grow. So how will building an authentic brand help you do that?

Because authentic brands are built from purpose, and purpose is the key to their growth.

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Our world is changing so quickly, and that has changed how quickly businesses must react and it has also changed consumer behavior.

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Consumers know they have the upper hand. They know they have a choice. So the bar has been set a lot higher for companies. Consumers expect businesses to play a larger role in changing society.

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Not only that, but as far as employees go, people want meaning in their work and they want to work for better companies.

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Purpose is something that can help companies hurdle each of these challenges. It also helps them stay relevant in their customer’s lives.

In a Harvard Business Review study they found that companies with purpose make more money and have more involved employees, all because they’re operating from purpose.

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Purpose drives your products and services, the people you hire, your culture, and your marketing. Most importantly, it gives focus that drives the whole business. Once you have purpose and focus, you can develop a much more effective and powerful marketing strategy that will connect with the right customers. When you’re talking to the right people in the right way, those customers want to become part of your community, tell their friends, and drive your growth.

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The first step in building an authentic brand is positioning your company around that purpose. One of the ways we do this is by using an exercise from Ogilvy & Mather’s called the Big Ideal.

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It can take some time to figure out your big ideal (we’ll use Dove as an example from Arielle Jackson’s work on First Round), but essentially it works like this: combine two things: your cultural tension—which is the problem in the world that you’re looking to address:

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with your brand’s best self—what your company actually does when you are at your best:

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Dove’s big ideal is that the world would be a better place if women were allowed to feel good about their bodies. This purpose drives the focus for everything they do. Their job is to create products that help women love their bodies.

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This purpose and focus then comes out loud and proud in everything they do in their marketing strategy. And from 2004 to 2014, Dove saw a $1.5 billion dollar jump in sales as a result of focusing on purpose to drive their business.

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Often times companies will disregard an authentic, purpose-driven approach to building their company and brand because they think it is only applicable to environmentally or socially responsible companies like Patagonia or Tom’s Shoes.

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A purpose-driven approach is not a social cause thing. It’s not a non-profit thing. It’s not a B2B or a B2C thing. It’s a people connecting with people thing. It’s focusing on the right things that will help you build a company that people care about, want to work for, and do business with.

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When you’re building an authentic brand, how do people fit into the equation? Every day it seems that there’s some new marketing tactic to try; a new piece of technology that will magically help you earn customers faster. But technology will not earn customers. Having a great product, building a great company, being authentic, and doing the work to find and connect with the right people will.

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The biggest thing to remember about growth and building an audience is that you’re not looking for everyone. You’re looking for the right people who connect with your purpose. And this takes time, but then you’re building an audience of customers who actually want to be your customers and your loyal brand advocates.

We have worked for a company called Traveling Vineyard for the past two and a half years. They’re a direct sales company. They have several thousand people, or Wine Guides as they call them, mostly women, who sell wine for them.

But Traveling Vineyard actually doesn’t exist to sell wine. Their purpose is to change lives by providing fulfilling (and flexible) work. This purpose has been driving the growth of their business. One by one, we have been looking for the people and organizations who align with this purpose and who are a match for their community.

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It’s been a slow process, but over the last 2 1/2 years, we have increased Traveling Vineyard’s lead form submissions by more than 200%. This growth has also contributed to a 40% increase in revenue for the company.

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In the very beginning of our work with Traveling Vineyard, we began by identifying an audience that appeared to be 3 different types of moms: a stay-at-home-mom who loves her family but could use a little extra income without a lot of commitment. An empty-nester who’s looking for something new to consume her life now that her kids are gone. And an achiever; someone who is tired of just being a mom and wants something that’s just for her.

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But when we were building their persona, we didn’t just stop here by identifying these stereotypes.

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We wanted to make sure we were talking to the right people, so we took the step of matching these persona to real, actual people.

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Once we mapped the characteristics of the stereotypes to REAL people in their community, we honored them as ambassadors. This allowed us to build better relationships with their existing community and leverage that community to find more people outside of their community who are like them.

One of the first steps we take when we’re building these relationships is we create a Customer Journey Map (adapted from an exercise from Adaptive Path) that helps us understand these women’s desires, roadblocks, and fears that keep them from converting to wine guides.

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At each stage of their journey in their lifecycle of becoming a Wine Guide for Traveling Vineyard, we break down what they are thinking, feeling, and doing.

When we’re analyzing what they’re thinking, we look at the common questions that are holding them back. Stuff like: Is the company legit? Will I make money doing this? Do I have to be a wine expert?

Then we move onto how they may be feeling in each stage of their journey. These are the emotions that they are having that could also pose potential roadblocks like if they’re nervous about trusting the company, anxious to tell their friends they may do this, or even just excited to get started.

And then lastly, in the doing stage, we analyze their actions; the actions that the potential wine guides may take before they convert. Things like investigating other companies, talking to their friends and family, and watching videos or reading content on the website.

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Understanding what’s holding your customers back from converting is less about the typical persona things like: how old are they? what’s their occupation? what are their hobbies? And more about their behaviors: what they are thinking/feeling/and doing at every stage of their journey.

And once you understand those things, you can address their thoughts, concerns, fears, and challenges in your content strategy.

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And since you cannot control the path of their journey through the funnel,  your job in building an authentic brand is making it an iterative cycle of getting to know people, understanding them, figuring out what they need, and helping them solve their challenges. This doesn’t require stuff to “go viral.” This is a slow build of trust.

With Traveling Vineyard, we’ve spent the last two and a half years in this cycle: from their purpose of changing lives by providing fulfilling and flexible work, finding the right people for their audience, developing a strategy to reach them, creating the content that they need to be connected, igniting outreach to get it to them, analyzing the data to make sure we’re talking to the right people in the right ways and helping Traveling Vineyard grow their business with this approach.

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We’ve continued to do the hard work to find the right people, make it personal so that we’re building relationships with the right people, and add to the growth of their company.

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Over the last year, Chipotle has been having a rough go of it. And for a brand that is supposed to be synonymous with “FOOD WITH INTEGRITY” being associated with words like Norovirus, E.coli, and Salmonella is pretty bad news. Even worse, when people are talking on social media about puking and pooping and going to the hospital because they’ve eaten your food, it is not so good for business.

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But in true authentic style, Chipotle has spent the last year reacting to this stuff from authenticity and purpose. So they’ve not only been telling their customers that they’ve blown it, but they’re doing what it takes to make it right.

Chipotle has been transparent about how the outbreaks most likely happened. They’ve taken apart their current food safety systems and put them back together. They’ve provided their customers with a plan for action to pioneer and become a leader in food safety. Chipotle wants to make sure that this not only doesn’t happen again in their restaurants, but also inspire other fast food restaurants to operate the same.

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But had Chipotle not built such trust with their customers over the last 10 years, their runway for error would have been quite short and this whole fiasco could have ruined them. But because Chipotle had built such trust, their customers were willing to have faith that they will make it right because that’s who they are as a company.

And that’s what’s kind of remarkable about Chipotle’s community is that their customers were willing to give them a second chance. Even as their stock prices fell and the media chewed them up, their customers were still with them.

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And even though Chipotle is projected to have a 65% earnings loss this year due to the outbreaks, next year in 2017, their earnings are projected to jump 125%. And even over the next many years, Chipotle is still projected to have a higher growth in earnings than McDonald’s and their big ol’ marketing budgets.

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The thing is, this wasn’t the first time that Chipotle made some mistakes. And it certainly won’t be the last. Where it counts is when Chipotle handles the situation with integrity, transparency, and authenticity. That’s what will make the difference in the durability of their brand and their company.

The fact of the matter is that we don’t just love Chipotle because they put cilantro in their rice or because they get just the right amount of salt on their chips. OK, well maybe it is, but really, it’s because they have proven to be a great, purpose-driven, authentic company who people can trust and want to support. Even when they’re at their worst. And this is what it takes to build a durable brand in the digital age.

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If you’re considering building an authentic brand, remember these things:

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People expect more from the companies they support. Building your company from purpose gives people something to connect to and believe in. Even more, building from purpose gives your business focus and that focus brings growth.

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If you want to earn the right customers who will support you and stand by you through the good and the bad, you’ve got to bust your ass, hustle and do the work to connect with people. The people who align with your purpose.

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And lastly, as a company, you need to have a killer product. You need to provide a stellar experience across all channels. But remember that growth comes from a deeper place than that. It’s not about how your company is packaged, it’s about who your company is. And your job is to continually prove —through your actions — that you’re worth your customers’ investment.

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When it comes down to it, building and marketing a company and brand in today’s world requires a different path than traditional marketing, advertising, and quick-fix tactical approaches. Technology (and Google) is going to continue to change. Our world is going to continue to evolve. We need to build brands that transcend technology and adapt to our ever-changing world. Brands that are real and human and authentic. These are the brands that trump the competition and big marketing budgets every time.

If your company is ready to triumph over the next many years, it’s time to evaluate and evolve.

Nuggets of Knowledge: May 2016

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Nuggets of Knowledge - GenuinelyThis month’s NOK list is all about social media, a timely topic given those new Twitter changes that were just announced. (We’d like to deem it prescience on our part, but alas.) These articles all focus on something that remains constant amongst the frequent and inevitable changes to individual social platforms and their functionality: the importance of being human on social media. As automation and bots become more prevalent, establishing genuine human connections remains a smart and ultimately necessary strategy. These articles discuss how to build that strategy into your social efforts.


6 ReasoColourful cloud shaped speech bubblesns to Make Your Business Human on Social Media

by Brett Relander

If you’re wondering why your social media isn’t getting the kind of engagement you’d like, or if you want to know how to build relationships with customers and future customers, Relander offer six great, simple reasons. Ultimately, you’ll build trust and loyalty with your customers if you approach social media from a human perspective.


customer-service-smileThe Trick to Mastering Social Media? Remember You’re a Human

by Jake Cain

A human approach on social media is never more important than when your company is dealing with customer service issues. The author mentions examples of companies who have incorporated an offline effort with their online effort, resulting in a big win in regards to customers trust and loyalty.


robot and manA More Human Than Human Agency

by Scott Schneider

Technology continues to advance and amaze us with the rise of bots. Where we have been working diligently to help companies understand how to be more human, especially on social media, Schneider reminds us of a coming challenge:

How will agencies [and companies] maintain human authenticity in an automated, bot-led world?”

It comes down to the fact that agencies (and companies) must learn to embrace technology and understand how it will continually challenge us to re-shape what we do. But at the end of the day, we have to find a way to be human and connect with people.


thumb_ico-audienceThe Ethical Guide to Growing Your Audience

by Jason Zook

This Crew post is a great reminder that growing your audience (whether it’s on social, through an email newsletter, or on your blog) is one of those things you can’t really find a shortcut for. It also speaks to the importance of being human when you’re trying to build the right audience from scratch. Those quality, passionate people you’re going after want value, consistency, inspiration, and the knowledge that someone cares. So ditch the superficial, short-lived hacks and start making human connections.

Why Content Strategy Isn’t Enough

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Mack recently had the honor of speaking at SearchLove Boston 2016 where she presented on Why Content Strategy Isn’t Enough. What follows is a recap of her talk about how companies need to evolve their approach to marketing in order to survive in our ever-changing world.

Technology has changed our world

There’s no doubt that technological advances have made our world faster, smarter, and more connected. Where it took the phone companies 89 years to connect 150 million people, it took Facebook only 8 years to connect 8 billion.

technology-advancing

The problem is, even with all of the remarkable technology that we have, companies are failing to make authentic connections with their customers. Although our world, business, and consumer behavior has evolved, there is an approach to marketing that’s fundamentally broken and it’s not helping companies earn the relationships they need with their customers.

 

marketing-wrong

Competing on content and experience alone won’t do it anymore. Great brands and companies already have these things baked into their DNA.

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Being stellar at every touchpoint is the new status quo. And yet this, alone, is not enough for companies to weather the relentless evolution of technology, earn customers, and experience growth.

Earning customers and experiencing growth has to come from something bigger and deeper than content marketing or content strategy; it comes from building a company from purpose and earning the trust of your customers through authenticity.

Building an authentic brand is not a social cause thing. It’s not a non-profit thing. It’s not a B2B or a B2C thing. It’s a people connecting with people thing. And it’s about building a company that people care about and want to do business with.

In order for your company to succeed, you have to continually strive to build a better one. And from that, comes your marketing.

Over the next 5 years, authenticity will win

Every day it seems that there’s some new marketing tactic to try: a new piece of technology that will magically help you earn customers faster. But technology will not earn customers. If your company wants to make it through the next 5 years of content saturation, noise, and technological advances, you must build an authentic, human brand.

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Here are the facts:

  • More than 63% of consumers would rather buy from a company they consider to be authentic over the competition.
  • That same Cohn & Wolfe study shows that the number one behavior that people expect of brands is open and honest communication about their products and services. The second behavior is that they don’t let their customers down, and the third behavior is that they act with integrity at all times.
  • A BBMG study shows that when people are trying to figure out who to buy from, 73% of people care about the company, not just the product, when they’re making purchasing decisions.
  • When people care about your company, they tell their friends. Word of mouth is responsible for more than 50% of all purchasing decisions.

In today’s face-paced, digital world, it’s not about how your company is packaged. It’s about who your company is.

not-about-packaging

about-who-you-are

How to evolve your marketing

How does your company evolve in this digital age so that you can experience sustainable growth?

Start from purpose

Building an authentic brand starts from purpose, and from purpose comes growth.

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Purpose is also what solves these common challenges in our world:

  • Businesses are challenged with unrelenting change. And because our world is changing so quickly, that has changed consumer behavior and how quickly businesses must react.
  • Consumers expect businesses to play a larger role in changing society. They know they have the upper hand. They know they have a choice. So the bar has been set a lot higher. Consumers want companies to do more than just make money.
  • Employees want more meaning in their work. And they want to work for better companies.

Purpose helps companies hurdle each of these problems and also helps them stay relevant in their customer’s lives. Even more, “purpose-driven companies make more money, have more engaged employees, and are better at innovation and transformational change.”

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Building an authentic brand comes from purpose and that purpose drives everything.

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Purpose drives your products and services, the people you hire, your culture, your marketing. Most importantly, it gives focus that drives the whole business.

Once you have purpose and focus, you can develop a much more effective and powerful marketing strategy that will connect with the right customers. When you have a great product or offer great services, and you’ve done your diligence to learn about your customers and how they align with your purpose, those customers want to become part of your community and support your growth.

Positioning around your company’s purpose can be done through an exercise called the Big Ideal from Ogilvy & Mather.

the-big-ideal

Your Big Ideal is the soul of your company. It’s also your point of view on how the world should be. Identifying your company’s purpose comes from the combination of two things: your cultural tension—which is the problem in the world that you’re looking to address, and your brand’s best self—what your company actually does when you are at your best.

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One of our clients, the Traveling Vineyard, addresses the cultural tension that people are looking for more meaning in their work and also in their lives.

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At their best self, Traveling Vineyard provides the resources and training necessary to build a successful career in direct sales.

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Traveling Vineyard believes that the world would be a better place if people could change their lives with a fulfilling job. This is their Big Ideal.

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Traveling Vineyard’s Big Ideal then drives their purpose. Traveling Vineyard exists as a company so that they can change lives by providing fulfilling work.

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This purpose then powers Traveling Vineyard’s marketing strategy that is centered around the theme of living a richer, fuller life. Any content that is generated addresses the questions, concerns, thoughts, and feelings that their customers have at every stage in their journey with Traveling Vineyard.

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Build an ecosystem

Once your company has clearly identified its purpose, that will drive everything. Essentially, your marketing strategy will be born out of this ecosystem:

marketing-ecosystem

  • Identifying and understanding the people who align with your purpose so that you can talk to them
  • Developing the strategy that will help you use the right channels to reach that audience
  • Creating the right content that will connect with that audience, taking care to solve their problems
  • Getting that personal and customized content in front of the right people with customized outreach
  • Assessing data (and intuition) to determine whether what you’re doing throughout this cycle is bringing growth.
  • Finally, showing your purpose through action: having that stellar experience; having that stellar content; following through at every touchpoint and simply being human

Ultimately, your marketing strategy is only powerful when it’s connected to the purpose of your business as a whole. Your marketing efforts then become an iterative cycle of getting to know the right people, understanding them, figuring out what they need, and helping them solve their challenges. This is a slow build of trust. You must work to be authentic and personal in order to earn a community and grow your business.

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Why isn’t content strategy enough?

There are two reasons that content strategy isn’t enough to build a sustainable company and brand:

durable-brands

 1) Content strategy alone won’t build a durable brand
If you want to earn the right customers who will support you, tell their friends about you, and stand by you in good and bad, you’ve got to do the work to connect with people. Yes, you need to create 10x content and provide a stellar experience across channels, but growth goes deeper than that. It’s not about how your company is packaged; it’s about who your company is.

brands-transcend-technology

2) We need to build brands that transcend technology
Remember that technology can’t build relationships with your customers. That’s what humans are for. Building an authentic brand will help you weather technology, the saturation of mediocre content, competition, and Google. So no matter what the trend is, or how the algorithm is changing, you will have built a brand so durable that people will talk about you, they will hear about you, and they will come looking for you.

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It’s time to evolve our approach for durability and growth

Just like building a business, a purpose-driven and authentic approach to marketing is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort and care. Perhaps it’s time to assess whether what you’re doing now in your marketing is really working. Maybe you’re feeling stuck. Maybe you’re not getting results from what you’ve been doing for many years. Maybe your audience growth has plateaued. And maybe all the tactics you try don’t seem to get traction.

It’s time to do things a little differently. It’s time to build from purpose and build authentic, human relationships with customers.

Nuggets of Knowledge: April 2016

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Nuggets of Knowledge - Genuinely

We’ve all been involved in the development and/or execution of a strategy, and we understand how wrenches get thrown that stop the wheels and get us off track.

This month’s NOK picks speak to those challenges: how should a company create a strategy? Why do companies not execute on their strategies? What constitutes a good strategy?


Marketing mix wheel

Creating the Right Marketing Mix

by Rand Fishkin (Moz)

There’s no right way to stack all the different marketing tactics, but you must understand your objectives before building a strategy. Once you know your objectives, you can then determine what part of the funnel will help you reach your goal most effectively.

Rand provides a great example on retargeting and making sure your goals are clear. Are you trying to get people to come back and engage with a new piece of content OR are you trying to convert more people? These two very different objectives need to be defined before activating a specific channel. Lastly, don’t forget to test and analyze. All the channels need to work together and the strategy may need to change over time as different parts of the funnel get optimized.


Brains and Hearts imageMaking Empathy Central to Your Customer Development Strategy

by Brian Barela (Loyal)

We know you already factor data into your strategic decision making, but do you also factor in empathy? In this article, Loyal explains why engaging both the minds and feelings of customers is critical for customer development.

In this actionable and specific article, Loyal provides activities, articles, and frameworks that explain exactly how to get to know (and share!) the feelings of your customers and use that knowledge to create meaningful brand experiences.


Harvard Business Review image

Why Strategy Execution Unravels and What to Do About It

by Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes, and Charles Sull (HBR)

The authors counter some myths about why strategy isn’t executed based on a survey/study of 8,000 managers in more than 250 companies. Below are the myths they tackle and the issue or solution in parentheses after:

  1. Execution equals alignment.
    (It’s a cross-function, cross-unit thing.)
  2. Execution means sticking to the plan.
    (One must adapt to the problems and opportunities that pop up along the way. P.S. Being agile is easier said than done.)
  3. Communication equals understanding.
    (Strategic objectives are often unrelated to one another and to the overall business strategy. Add in corporate priorities, core competencies, core values and you’ve got a muddy mess.)
  4. Performance culture drives execution.
    (Performance measurements lead to “playing it safe.” Other things must be recognized, too: agility, teamwork, ambition, and experimentation.)
  5. Execution should be driven from the top.
    (What happens when the top brass leave? Distributed leaders from the “middle” should drive execution and be guided by the top.)


Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why it Matters
Good Strategy Bad Strategy book cover

by Richard Rumelt (Amazon)

Our final pick for this month’s NOK list is a book that came highly recommended from Aaron Dignan. Good Strategy Bad Strategy dives into the reasons that strategies either fail or don’t even qualify as a proper strategy in the first place. Through many historical and real-world examples, Rumelt illustrates how good strategy must be void of fluffy jargon, effectively assess the critical challenge at hand, and, most importantly, include a plan for action. The book serves as a stellar guide on what is necessary to be successful with strategy.

Nuggets of Knowledge: March 2016

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Nuggets of Knowledge - Genuinely

This month’s NOK list is a compendium of videos: videos that strike a chord with us emotionally, targeting our personal values and beliefs about core human issues. In order to be relevant to today’s consumers, brands are using emotional storytelling as part of their content strategy, tapping into our emotions to send a message and make a human connection. And, video is a great way to make that human connection.

International Women’s Day on March 8 was a great opportunity for many brands to make that human connection with their audiences by communicating the brand’s values about the lives, achievements, and struggles of women around the world. Rather than focusing on a product, these brands focus on important issues that elicit strong emotions in their audiences.


Brands embrace ‘fempowerment’ campaigns to appeal to women

by T.L. Stanley (Mashable)
In addition to advertising their product, brands today are advertising their values as a way to communicate and connect with their audiences on another level. In this article, Mashable offers a variety of brands – from the more masculine Brawny paper towels to a new Always #LikeaGirl campaign about emojis – that are honing in on women’s empowerment, and the emotions associated with being a girl/woman.


A detergent commercial makes a simple, powerful point about inequality 

by Frida Garza (Quartz)
Soap maker Ariel India (a Procter & Gamble brand), takes on gender inequality with an incredibly powerful video about how it’s not just up to mom to manage the heavy load of home, kids, and career. This purpose-driven campaign is an authentic and emotional way for Ariel to connect with their audience and show them that they’re not afraid to take a stand on something that also matters to their customers.


Why emotional storytelling is the future of branding

by Patrick Hong (Momentology)
There are so many great examples in this article that showcase the power of emotional storytelling. When asked why emotional marketing is important, Andy Maslen says, “Because information leads to analysis, but emotion leads to action.”


This is beating the odds

by Western Union (YouTube)
This short video, created by Western Union for International Women’s Day, tells the story of Siba, who aims to become one of the first female commercial pilots in South Africa. It is the most inspiring thing we’ve seen in a long time.

Mack Web is now Genuinely

By | Business Stuff, Events, Mack's Musings, MISSION: Authentic | No Comments

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If I were to ask my dad who the greatest influences in his life have been, I’m confident he would put Oprah Winfrey at the top of his list. It’s not that he’s ever wanted to meet her, or that he would even admit this out loud, but when going through one of the darkest times in his life, she became his therapist. Every day at 3 pm he’d watch her show. Over the course of a year, 60 minutes at a time, he became a better man.

Oprah had kind of a rough go of it when she was a kid. In an interview she was once asked if she could go back, would she change anything about her life? With conviction, she told the journalist that she wouldn’t trade any of it. All of those experiences — the bad and the good — have made her who she is today. It was all part of her journey.

13 years ago when I started this company, I had no vision for what I was building. I had quit a junior high teaching job, completed graduate school, and endured many, many failed attempts at achieving employment. I needed a job, so I started building websites in a home office just down the hall from my bedroom.

Over the years, my vision for this company has materialized from a great deal of contrast. So many questions asked. So many words read. So many conversations had. So many projects released. So many ways of working adapted. So many sharp stones beneath my feet. And so much clarity gained. Read More

The Importance of Building a Human and Authentic Brand – A Podcast

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The-Importance-of-building-a-human-and-authentic-brand

Mack Web is now Genuinely. Learn more.

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Welcome to Stop 7 of MISSION: Authentic

What does it mean, as a company and a brand, to be authentic and human, and why does it matter? Those are the questions guiding the conversation between Mack Web CEO Mack Fogelson and web psychologist Nathalie Nahai.

The simplest reason is that being authentic and human is the best way to earn your customers’ trust. And earning their trust is the best way not only to attract their business but also to ensure that they amplify your brand awareness with their own powerful word-of-mouth recommendation.

In short, being authentic and human is an important way to build a successful business.

Mack and Nat, two experts in the field of humanizing brands and humanizing the web, engage in a 30-minute conversation about why and how a brand should embrace these characteristics and behave in an authentic way. Read More

Nuggets of Knowledge: February 2016

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nuggets-of-knowledge

Mack Web is now Genuinely. Learn more.

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Welcome to Stop 5 of MISSION: Authentic

This month, in honor of some pretty cool stuff we’re working on over here, we’re bringing you a different kind of NOKlist. Instead of dropping some knowledge, this month’s Nuggets are holding up a few shining examples of businesses that are doing this marketing thing right.

We spend a lot of time pondering the things that make a company stand out: What draws people in? What makes them want to stay? What inspires customer loyalty, elicits sincere praise, generates the kind of word-of-mouth awareness that no agency or campaign can hope to duplicate? (You may have run across this theme in, oh, just about anything else we’ve ever written.)

We did our research – talked to our peers, consulted our gut instincts, spent some time observing the world – and came to this conclusion: consumers today are drawn to companies that sincerely, honestly, openly care about something more.

We call them authentic companies because when a company sincerely, honestly, openly cares about something, it shows. It glows, it shines, it affects everything they do. Which means that what you see on the outside is who they are all the way to the core. 100% genuine, authentic, Grade-A them-ness.

That’s what this month’s NOKlist is sharing with you. We each spent some time thinking about a company, a brand that we loved. Then we thought about why we loved it. Would you be shocked to discover that the reasons we found all came down to the sincerity, the authenticity of their mission or purpose?

The missions encapsulated below come in different shapes and sizes, from the love of a specific coffee bar to the more general dedication to a certain customer experience; from the very personal belief in the delight of juice to the wide-reaching insistence on transparency.

The shape of the mission hardly matters. It’s the determination to hold true to it that makes each of these companies shine.

See for yourself. Read More

What’s In A Name? Naming Your Company For Who You Are

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Naming-your-company-for-who-you-are

Mack Web is now Genuinely. Learn more.

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Welcome to Stop 3 of MISSION: Authentic

A rose by any other name …

Despite the many adages against making judgments based on first impressions – books and covers, etc. – we can’t quite help ourselves. First impressions are lasting impressions and they shape how we think about the person, the business, the organization we’ve just met. At least until we’ve managed to form a deeper acquaintance.

It simplifies matters tremendously to make sure that you or your business make a first impression that genuinely reflects who you are. That means naming your company with care. Read More