Branding 101: Consistency is Key

 

“Your brand is your promise to your customer. [It] is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be."

- John Williams, Founder of CMOsmart

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Whether you’re a VP within a large organization or a small business owner, an effective brand strategy is what gives you the edge in an already saturated market.

Your brand is what lets customers know what they can expect from you. Here, we've pulled together a list of four key elements you need to get the word out and establish a consistent brand:

  • Logo. You need a unique logo that won’t need to be changed every year. Once it's perfected, place it everywhere. Note: This may require an investment in time and resources. (Consider hiring a designer to ensure your logo is done correctly the first time.)

  • Messaging. Spend time developing your key messages, slogan or tagline, etc. There’s nothing like a catchphrase to capture attention and help customers remember what your company has to offer.

  • Templates and standards for marketing materials. To maintain consistency and establish your company’s visual brand identity, use the same color scheme, font, and logo placement on your website, social media profiles, and non-digital assets.

  • Voice. Again, consistency is important. Will your brand have a formal, polished tone, or are you more like Wendy’s, whose Twitter account roasts anyone brave enough to take them on? (Looking for more great social media voices?)

While each of these elements is important, your company’s mission is the most essential. Don't sweat the small stuff - like your logo - until after you've properly defined your company’s purpose and have the means to deliver upon promises. There’s no point in developing stellar marketing materials if your services are unreliable.

For more branding rules your company needs to survive, check out this article.

 

Why Smart CEOs Are Social CEOs

 

These days, it’s a given that your company needs to have an active social media presence. But what about the members of your C-suite?

A recent Edelman study revealed 78% of the highest-rated CEOs were present on social media channels. Executives like Marc Benioff utilize social media to not only share company updates but also provide insight into aspects of their personal lives.

When used correctly, CEOs can use platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to expand thought leadership and boost marketing efforts. However, the benefits gained by engaging on social go beyond boosting business. Compared to peers who are not active on social media, Social CEOs are 89% better at empowering others, 52% stronger at communications, 46% more influential, and 36% better at cultivating networks. 

Here are four other reasons why CEOs should make time for social:

  1. Connect with customers: Not only does social provide a direct line of communication with those who purchase your product, but it’s a practical way to always have a finger on the pulse of your company and industry. A good example is when Airbnb’s Brian Chesky took to Twitter last year to ask people what they wanted his company to launch in 2017.

  2. Build trust: 80% of consumers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO uses social. Think of social as a place to share details that humanize you and prove your accessibility to the public.

  3. Strengthen public perception: In the midst of a PR crisis, brands who put their CEOs on the frontlines see a significant boost in public perception. For instance, AirAsia’s CEO Tony Fernandes was lauded for providing updates via Twitter after an AirAsia plane crash in 2014.

  4. Create brand awareness: John Legere builds time for social media into his day as CEO of T-Mobile. While sometimes controversial, he’s a prime example of the many ways you can use social to your advantage. He frequently engages in conversations with customers, and his public tweets help spread T-Mobile’s message and set the company apart as the “Uncarrier.”

For more insights about execs on social media, check out thesE articles, here and here.

 

5 Presentation Tips to Become Pitch Perfect

 
Workplace Meeting

Whether it's for an intimate meeting or a huge conference, public speaking requires practice, and there is always room for improvement. Fortunately, there are a few tried-and-true ways to get ahead of the game.

This week, we’re taking pointers from Bill McGowan, Founder and CEO of Clarity Media Group, public speaking expert, and author of Pitch Perfect. We recently had the privilege of attending his talk at General Assembly, and also purchased his book!

Our favorite take-aways:

  1. Don’t buy time with the phrase: “That’s a great question.” Too often, it’s used to stall or flatter, and people can see right through it. According to McGowan, this phrase is as outdated as telling speakers to envision the audience in their underwear.

  2. Vary your delivery. Switch up the 3 P’s - that is, your pitch, pace, and projection. When delivering a key point, help it stick by slowing down, pausing, or changing your volume.

  3. Never start your presentation with an apology. Whether it’s 9 am and you’re the first session of the day, or 1 pm and the crowd is in a post-lunch slump, don’t feel like you need to preface your talk with a “I promise to keep this exciting…” or “I just want to take a little bit of your time.”

  4. Don't sweat the details. If something happened two years ago instead of three, don't worry about backtracking and correcting yourself. Press on, or you'll lose momentum - and audience interest.

  5. Stop wasting time with sign posts. That is, there's no need to begin your talk with a preview and/or give a recap afterwards. As McGowan says, don't tell your audience what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Instead, dive right in!

For more tips, check out Top Tips for Effective Presentations

 

How to Maximize Audience Attention (When Everyone's Glued to Their Phones)

 
Crowd

With the average adult touching their phone around 2,617 times a day*, it’s only a matter of time before something distracts them from your presentation.

So what can you do? If you can’t fight them, join them. Here are a couple of ways to turn a distracted audience into an engaged one:

Live Polling & Results Display

If you’ve ever stood in front of a room of people, asked a question, and waited helplessly while no one felt confident enough to answer, your solution is live polling. Using an event app, you can ask your audience simple questions and give them the power to reply immediately using their phone.

After collecting the data, results can then be streamed in real-time to an on-stage display. This is a great tool for re-capturing your audience’s interest and focus. Live polling allows for active participation and takes the edge off speaking in a crowded room.

Networking & One-on-One Meetings

How often have you walked away from an event wondering what connections you could have made had you talked to everyone in the room? Using the event app as a meeting facilitator, attendees can now find out exactly who is in the audience, send invites for meetings, or be matched up with others with similar interests (ATTN entrepreneurs: this is an easy way to get ahold of that investor who’s been hard to reach). Event apps leave no opportunity unrecognized and allow audience members to engage both with one another as well as with speakers.

Guide your audience to action

Before heading off the stage and leaving your audience to digest your presentation, make sure you’re giving them the right tools to take action. Use your mobile events app to share your contact information and social media handles, include any presentation decks, and send through a quick survey to gather feedback after your talk.

If possible, ask the event organizer ahead of time to have your session recorded and include a link to the session in your email. This way, you can ensure a lasting impact on your audience.

Once you tap into these new forms of audience engagement, you will become a more compelling speaker, achieve a greater event ROI, and increase overall attendee satisfaction. Make sure you turn this generation's reliance on mobile devices into the next level of audience engagement.

For more on audience engagement via mobile device, read more here and here.


*Article published on NetworkWorld, IDG.

 

How to Convince Others to Repeat Your Words

 

Repetition. Mnemonics. Visualization. These are but a few ways that people commit things to memory. Knowing this, speakers can - and should - utilize certain strategies to make their presentations more effective and memorable.

In this post, we’ll break down some thoughts on memory by Memzy's Managing Director and Cognitive Neuroscientist Carmen Simon, including portability, timelessness, and syntax.

Portability, or the ability to apply something in various contexts.

How “portable” is your idea or message? According to a study by Cornell University, phrasing affects memorability, and relies on both distinctiveness and generality. People are more likely to repeat phrases if they can apply them in multiple contexts.

Carmen’s recommendation? Create generic statements, using the present tense and limiting personal pronouns. Think of some famous movie lines or slogans, and think about how they could’ve ended up.

You’re gonna need a bigger boat. --> You’re gonna need the bigger boat.

The first instance, which is the actual movie line from Jaws, can be used pretty flexibly. Some use it when they’re simply in need of more resources. Had the writing team written the line as the latter, it would not have made any sense off the water and wouldn’t be as commonplace of a phrase as it is today.

Timelessness.

The best repeatable messages have a lasting impact and endure time. They focus on three aspects:

  1. A fundamental problem, one that is related to the audience receiving the message,

  2. Building a stimulating mental image, and

  3. The right level of complexity.

Quick note on the third point: There is a difference between profound complexity and intimidating complexity. Never overwhelm your audience with too much information that they cannot process.

Simple (but disfluent) syntax.

The order of words is important if you want people to remember what you have to say. At the same time, disfluency is also necessary.

That is, half the battle is making sure your statements flow together as a whole, creating what Carmen calls a “safe canvas.” Next is marking that canvas with distinct, disfluent words to provide cognitive roadblocks that elicit deeper processing. Seems counterintuitive, but it works. (Just make sure your entire message isn’t all over the place!)

For more on memory tips and tricks, listen to Dr. Carmen Simon on Persuasive Techniques for Business and Life here.

 

10 Timeless Tips for Giving Effective Presentations

 
Public Speaking in a Meeting

Regardless of whatever industry you're in, it’s likely that you will have to give a presentation at some point in your life. And if you’re like any of our clients, maybe you’re actively speaking at conferences and events.

So what do you need to know about giving a presentation?

Here are 10 tips for delivering a clear, understandable, and thought-provoking message.

  1. Keep it simple. Unnecessary complexity should always be avoided. Don’t whip out a thesaurus before your presentation in an effort to sound more intelligent. Be real, be yourself, and use your own words.

  2. Stick to three key points. Narrow your focus - state your three points at the beginning of your presentation, and then reiterate them at the end. These are those key takeaways that your audience won’t want to forget.

  3. Engage your audience. Be interactive during your talk by finding ways to keep your audience involved. How? That’s up to you to decide! (Here are 8 ways to make your presentation more interactive.)

  4. Use visuals. One way to engage your audience (see point #3) is by using memorable visuals to emphasize your point. Stay away from too many bullet points and information overload.

  5. Be honest. Don’t try to fake passion for a topic that you don’t actually care about (or know nothing about). Your audience will see right through you.

  6. Move around. It’s the same as going to a concert. Audiences want to watch something dynamic. So walk around, use your hands (not too much though - it can be distracting), and make your point more visually appealing.

  7. Share stories. Help your audience relate to your message by incorporating a personal anecdote or two. Just make sure you don’t pepper the presentation with too much of your personal life…

  8. Be conversational. Remember that it’s not a lecture. We cannot stress this enough.

  9. Consult an expert. Always strive to improve your public speaking style and the quality of your presentations. Watch how-to videos, pay attention to other speakers onstage, read articles, take a course in public speaking, hire a vocal coach - always try to do and be better.

  10. Practice makes perfect. You can never practice too much. Rehearse in front of others or in front of a mirror, and don’t forget it’s okay to start small and then work your way up!

Interested in more? Here are 5 Speaker Fails to Avoid.

You can also view the original Entrepreneur article by Jacqueline Whitmore here.

 

Social Media: A Must for Event Promotion

 

Here’s the truth: Whether you’re hosting a 1,500-person conference or a small workshop for 30, your event needs a social media marketing strategy.

Why? Think about it. Why do you attend an event?

  1. Networking

  2. To learn something valuable (hopefully!)

And that’s what social media is all about - networking, developing, and sharing insightful content. In this way, social media goes hand-in-hand with your event. It can multiply your reach and in turn, boost your event’s reputation and overall number of attendees. Social media also allows speakers, exhibitors, and other attendees to interact before and after your event, thereby offering a more personalized experience. So where do you begin?

First, you’ll need to determine which platforms to use. 84% of event organizers use Facebook to promote their event, with 61% on Twitter and 42% using Youtube. What makes the most sense for your event / what platform does your target attendee audience use the most?

Social Media on Phones

Second, establish your goals. What do you want? More sales? More traffic to your event page and therefore more attendees? More awareness and reputation? Sit down, and think about what you're trying to accomplish before jumping into anything.

Third, create an action plan with content ideas. What clever or useful content can you provide your followers on social media? What is going to make people ‘like,’ re-tweet, star, and share your posts? Ultimately, why should people be interested in your event?

Finally, execute. Easier said than done - and that’s why there are people out there, dedicated to social media as a profession. Social media requires a strategy, and you have to devote time and resources to it. A few tips from us:

  • Visual content performs better. (In fact, researchers found that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.)

  • Pay attention. For your specific audience, when do you seem to be getting the most engagement? This kind of testing, for your particular audience, will require a little bit of trial and error - maybe it’s Tuesdays in the afternoon right after lunch,? Either way, consider trends, and replicate that success. 

  • Engage with other social media influencers that are relevant to your event and brand, and always, always reply to people, especially when you're just getting started. That’s how you build up loyalty.

For more tips and tricks, check out Eventtia’s articles on event promotion, here and here.


Need help planning your own event?

Contact events@credpr.com.

 

Baby Steps: Getting on Stage for the First Time

 

“Like so many other aspects of the working world, getting into speaking gigs can be a catch-22. You need experience to get the gigs, but you need the gigs to get the experience.”

- Megan Berry, VP of Product at Rebelmouse

Conference Pic.jpeg

When it comes to speaking at events and conferences, expecting to immediately book the biggest gigs or get paid is unrealistic and honestly, not the smartest idea. It’s important to think practical and realistic to start, target the right events for your expertise and audience, and work your way up.

Even the most popular, high profile speakers have had to start somewhere - and with good reason, as the worst place to do your first presentation would be on-stage in front of hundreds of people! Becoming a great speaker requires practice and comes with experience. It means being proactive and investing both time and effort in your message, as well as your speaking strategy.

The result is a ripple effect, as one speaking engagement can open the door to another. Plus, to get into some of those bigger, more established conferences, you usually need past speaking experience. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with the submission process, many applications even ask for videos of you speaking. Without one, you might not even be considered.)

So as Berry says, find the low-hanging fruit first. Not getting enough - or any - inbound requests to speak? Try meetups and panels. “Solo gigs are harder to get than panel gigs.” And there are dozens of meetups and small events happening in every city, every month. You just have to take the time to look for them.

Because remember: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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For more tips on securing more speaking gigs, check out this article.

Need help getting started? Not sure what events would be interested in you? Contact us at speak@credpr.com.