5 Ways to Connect and Energize Your Brand

Warrior-Preneur Ann EvanstonOne of the joys of independent consulting is the opportunity to learn from a wide range of companies and the many solutions providers who stand ready to serve them. For startup CanaryVoice, we identified that social media savvy moms are likely to embrace its unique voicemail greetings service, leading us to explore the “momosphere” and participation in the BLP CONNECT! conference where “warrior-preneur” and marketing consultant Ann Evanston gave an inspiring keynote on “The Power of Connecting.”

Her request for audience feedback on the meaning of “connection” elicited a wide range of responses, including: growing relationships, personal conversations, face-to-face meetings, follow-up, support, camaraderie, resources, interest and attention. According to Evanston, connection means “creating an energy that draws people to you.” Pull not push marketing. Inbound marketing, not outbound marketing. Energetically, YOU are what creates your brand, which is distinctly unique from the product you sell. YOU make your brand unique and special, and as such you can program marketing activities to create an energy that attracts customers to your brand.

While the emphasis of Evanston’s talk was geared toward an audience of women entrepreneurs and guiding their use of social media, every marketer can benefit from thinking more about ways to energize and connect with their audiences, no matter what the product or the size of the marketing budget. If the word for 2010 was “authentic” and in 2011 we are talking about being “transparent,” the word for 2012 will be to “humanize” your brand, according to Evanston.

So how do you go about humanizing, connecting and energizing your brand? Here were my take-aways from Evanston’s motivating talk:

1) Create polarity in your marketing. Ho-hum marketing is average and safe — be brave, be memorable and be yourself!

2) Understand that multiple “buying types” exist and that you need to appeal to all of them while being ready to refine your pitch once you determine which buying type you are dealing with. Diversify how you connect by creating different ways to tell your story.

3) Think with abundance, not in scarcity mode. Doing so will help you attract like-minded people who want to do business with you. You will create connections you never thought possible, that will lead to an even greater number of customers, referral partners and promotion opportunities.

4) Let go of the fear. Fear of success, fear of the money you can really make, fear of polarity, fear of that first Tweet. Don’t let fear hold you back from getting the things done you need to do to drive your business forward.

5) Create a step-by-step plan comprised of systems and processes that develop revenue…and, of course, give Ann a call to help!

There is nothing more powerful than the energetic connections an entrepreneur can make when she tells her story with authenticity, honesty and fearlessness. Whether it’s in a selling situation, a speech or social media marketing, let go of the fears that are holding you back. There is a world of partners, customers and advocates out there just waiting for you to make powerful connections that will help you grow your business.


Startup Debut at CES

img-featuredCongratulations to Michael Terpin and the Social Radius team for their successful Startup Debut event to kick off CES in Las Vegas. Several influential technology journalists made their way to the House of Blues Foundation Room atop the Mandalay Bay Casino Tuesday night, where they were given an intimate look at some of the hot new media, entertainment, games and mobile companies making the rounds here this week. The full list of participating companies exhibiting at Startup Debut can be found here, but following are a few higlights from my conversations throughout the evening.

  • WOWee ONE – This compact portable speaker unit uses a standard speaker to deliver mid-high frequencies and a Gel Audio™ driver that turns any flat surface into a subwoofer with impressive low end bass frequencies. At a reasonable $79.99 price point and featuring a rechargable 20-hour battery it’s arguably among the best speakers in its category, but by far the best part of this demo was watching my old pal Spence Bovee enthusiastically pitch the product.
  • yap.TV – Billed by co-founder Shawn Cunningham as the first vertical social network for television fans, yap.TV is a personalized TV show guide app for the iPad with an elegant interface for interacting with friends fans in real-time while watching your favorite shows. My favorite features are integration with Twitter and Facebook, automatic check-in to see what friends are watching and real-time private group chat.
  • NTB Media – The A Game is a video-based pop culture trivia game using music videos, movie trailers to entertain users while delivering brands higher levels of engagement across social media networks, third party sites, in-stream video adverstising and mobile.
  • YouMail – Visual voicemail service YouMail showcased its free Android Visual Voicemail Plus application that allows users to share voicemail not only through e-mail or text messages but also by posting them directly to Facebook and Twitter. 
  • Omek – This softwared development enviornment allows developers to create gesture-recognition experiences with any depth sensor on any hardware platform. Think Kinect for the PC. The bigger news is that legendary game industry executive Jonathan Epstein has been named President and CRO.

Perseids and embedding video

perseids_stardateWho knew there was a connection between the Perseids meteor shower and JW Player? I was hoping to embed this cool animation of where to look for the Perseids meteor shower late Tuesday night  (thanks But while I’m still getting the hang of how best to embed video in WordPress (suggestions welcome), better to put the information out there than worry about perfectly nailing the aesthetics. Besides, it gave me a chance to experiment with a quick post about something I find interesting yet non-industry related. Does this fit here? I hope I’m able to stay up late and may drive to an inland valley or mountaintop to see the shower. What about you?

Perseids Stardate


Why Blog? It’s Time.

Fourteen years into my interactive media career, and nine years since the rise in popularity of blogging, here I am. Embarrassing as it is to say, I have no regrets. Things happen in their due time and now I’m ready and excited to have staked claim to this corner of Cyberspace. Here I intend to share my online marketing expertise, along with a few opinions and general musings about media, marketing and life.
Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate to meet thousands of people working in digital media, entertainment, technology and marketing, many of whose business cards now sit in shoeboxes and whose faces and names are part of a collective sea of faces and conversations from years of networking events, trade shows and parties. I’ve met hundreds more with whom I’ve transacted business and built my professional network. There are dozens who I consider respected colleagues, peers and industry friends whose guidance and feedback I rely upon regularly. And then there are a handful who I’m fortunate to consider among my dearest friends (you know who you are). My hope is to reconnect with all of my media, entertainment and technology friends of years gone by, communicate en masse with those who care to follow what I have to say and highlight the expertise of those whose views and opinions I respect, admire and would like to share with you.
In addition to working in the Southern California digital media community and the broader U.S. online advertising industry, I also identify with several other communities from my past, which collectively comprise my network. By Malcolm Gladwell’s terminology, and by most accounts of those who know me, I am a “Connector,” or someone Gladwell  says has an ” ability to span many different worlds as a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.” I enjoy this distinction and especially appreciate when I’m able to connect two people who should know one another or be doing business together.
Like you, my business and social network is primarily a function of the groups with whom I associate. Everyone we meet has a story and our interaction with them contributes to our own. I am passionate about people, and in the absence of being able to spend quality time with everyone I’ve met or care about, I am grateful for the ability of the Internet to empower us to keep connected. It is my hope this blog will contribute to doing that in a meaningful, interesting and scalable way and I hope you will come along on the journey with me.