How do I compete? It’s a simple question and surprisingly the answer is also simple if you are in business. It’s a little tougher when you are an athlete, because to compete on the sporting stage simply means being better than your competition.
American Late Show TV Host, Stephen Colbert has taken a dig at celebrities who launch their own personal branding lifestyle. His response is to put up his own branding – Covetton House. According to the nowbuzzing website, “With his popularity, it is high time he puts out his own brand and make everyone realise how highly they think of themselves.”
Celebrity lifestyle brands are exclusively American either, there are plenty of local examples as well. However our local versions tend to be more focussed on things where they have some knowledge like fitness for Michelle Bridges.
Marketing is a misunderstood area, but I have some top tips to set your thinking straight. As you will read, it comes down to knowing what marketing really is, before you can appreciate if you are doing it well.
Most not-for-profits and small businesses say they take care of marketing themselves, but when you scratch the surface they really don’t know what they are talking about, they only think they know what marketing means. read more…
In the first half of 2014 I was approached to be interviewed for an online publication called, Profitalist. The publication describes itself as entrepreneurship meets art. Of course it is always an honour to be interviewed – it’s great when someone takes an interest in what you do and how you do it. Personally, I love the idea that I am floating between being an entrepreneur and being an artist. I do see marketing as an art. It’s fine tuning a brand to be in touch with an audience. When it works the magic happens.
So if you have ever wanted to know little more about me and what drives me, well click on the link and enjoy.
“I have a dream”, perhaps one of the most famous phrases from one of the most famous speeches. How many of us have stood, if only in our minds, in front of a mass of people to proclaim our dream. The day you began the business, for a moment you declare the intent to yourself “I have a dream”. The question is what was the dream? Is the dream still the same today? Are you living that dream or is it further away than ever? read more…
So you are back into the swing of things and the holidays seem like a distant memory already. Before you get too bogged down in the day-to-day, plan to put aside a few hours away from the office to consider the foundations of your business. You can spend so much time in a business that you forget to consider the foundations upon which it is formed. If they are not solid and pushing you in the right direction, then your business will start to go backwards or in the very least stagnate as opportunities pass you by.
The top 5 questions you need to consider to check the communications and marketing foundations of your business are:
- What does the business do?
- What is the image you want to project to the market?
- Identifying your stakeholders and understand what they are like?
- Has there been any change in what people want and is there an opportunity for you to shift with the market?
- How are you going to reach everyone?
These may seem obvious, but how often do you ponder each of these areas. Each one unlocks a series of questions to make sure the communications and marketing of your business is perfectly aligned with your business strategy.
Let’s look at the question of what your business does. This is very much at the heart of your foundations. It’s not a case of answering that one simple question, but rather you should think of all the questions it raises. Here are just a few to consider.
- Do you really clearly and consistently state through all materials and staff what you do?
- Is the statement is accurate for 2015?
- Is it inspiring and memorable?
- How about your branding – is that helping to tell the story of your business?
- Does your brand appeal to your audience?
- Has your branding been freshened up in the last 5 years?
There are many aspects of the foundations of your business most business owners and managers fail to consider often enough. Very few businesses stay completely still. The world, technology, communities, competition and alternatives are all changing daily. As new things impact the business the foundations may shift. While buildings are generally not flexible, the foundations of a business must be in order to survive. You must be ready to adapt. In the very least you must consider whether your communications and marketing business foundations are going to help your business succeed and grow.
In the last few months I have worked with businesses of various sizes and ages to help them take a closer look at their foundations. Whether it is a startup with a sole trader or an established business with plenty of staff, invariably we find the foundations need some rebuilding.
Pick a day next week and take a few hours away from the office and think about your foundations. Of course if you want some help, I am only a phone call or email away. I am always happy to give you some free advice.
Welcome everyone to the new CommTogether website. It has been a little while in the planning, but so glad the website is finally live and ready for everyone to enjoy. While we have been busy working on a number of projects lately for a vast array of clients, it has been a challenge to fit this website in-between.
Like we do with clients, we have spent some time looking at the strategic direction of the business and focussing on our audiences. The demand for our services has continued to grow in two very different areas, the business sector (from small to medium size organisations) and the not-for-profit sector. While there are a lot similarities between the two sectors, there are also significant differences and as such we will shortly be launching a website dedicated to ’causes’ – be they charities or just broadly not-for-profits. So keep your eyes out for it, because there is a lot being planned including an online tool to measure communications and marketing.
We have been operating as CommTogether now for 3 1/2 years, and in that time we have covered a lot of territory, from branding to annual reports and brochures, from printed materials to websites, to search engine optimisation and from social media to research. The list goes on. We are all about servicing the needs of our clients, acting as a one stop shop. In order to achieve this we have a fantastic network of specialised expertise we utilise. The website sets out to detail the services we offer and how we can best help our clients.
Thank you to everyone who has continued to support CommTogether. The website release marks another exciting phase for the business and we look forward to working with you in the future.
The CommTogether website has suffered a little in the past few months as I have focussed on delivering for clients. I am currently in the process of looking at complete overhaul of the design and content of this website…so stay tuned. The demands on CommTogether are to continue to foster greater ties with the business sector.
In reality the business has continued to be equally divided in its focus between working with businesses of various sizes and stages of their lifecycle and not-for-profits. These past few months has seen CommTogether working with start-ups to small established businesses right through to larger international businesses. The process for working with any size business at a high level is the same. With the team of expertise we regularly access in design, research, photography, web development, social media and print we are in a strong position to manage any scale project to fit in with our clients needs and budget.
We have developed our own framework and processes for working with business to measure and maximise their communications and marketing.
Equally CommTogether has forged a strong relationship with a number of not-for-profit organisations. It has a passionate focus that will lead to some exciting developments in the not too distant future. A dedicated brand and website for the sector is coming soon. We intend on on releasing a number of initiatives which are designed to give not-for-profits access to resources, some free and others at a very cost effective level to maximise their communications, so they can stand out, achieving their goals to improve their reach and sustainability.
There is much business can learn from the not-for-profit sector and equally a lot the not-for-profit sector can learn from business. That is a well used statement, but in this present climate of greater social awareness it has never been more true. That said, there are some fundamental differences between the way both sector will and should always operate. Very few understand both sides and are able to substantiate the difference. CommTogether has been a leader in this thinking.
Stay tuned for the website update, giving it a greater focus on the work we do with business, and the new brand dedicated to helping not-for-profits build their brands and grow their audiences.
Season for giving
The season for giving to charity is now. That’s the message we should all be sending out to parents and children alike before we all wind up with houses filled with gifts we don’t need. However the one thing I have learned is, this must be driven by those receiving the gifts. They need to not only tell you they want a donation made, but who it should be for, because they need to relate to the worthy cause on some level.
Being someone who has worked in the not-for-profit sector and particularly with charities for several years, I have always hoped my children would appreciate the true value in giving. Whilst I have expressed the importance of the work charities I do, I have tried to allow them to formulate their own opinions on what is important to them.
The other thing we know about children is how important school life is to their opinions, particularly once they hit high school. So it’s pleasing as a parent that in both primary and high school my kids have participated in various activities to raise money for worthy causes.
Without any prompting from her parents my eldest daughter approached us recently to say she did not want any gifts this year because she had all she needed. Inspired by a drive at her public high school to assist the well known charity Guide Dogs, she asked for donations.
I often speak about how people are predisposed to a connection with certain charities. There has to be an emotional pull. In my daughter’s case it related to animals and how they can help others. Both my kids have always been huge animal lovers. Whilst I have talked to them about the various charities I have worked with, from community support organisations to medical research to homelessness to youth at risk and disability care (to name but a few), the desire to focus on a cause is still driven by individual emotion. One visit by the Guide Dogs with some puppies in training was enough to really pull on her emotional heart strings.
This time of year is very hard for so many people. They are alone, without money, struggling with illness, coping with the impact of a disability, loss and issues many of us find hard to comprehend. It truly is the season for giving. To all my friends and indeed clients in retail, it does not mean we abandon gifts all together, but imagine the impact if everyone gave just a token donation. If the season for giving was about $2 donations for every person in Australia – that’s over $40 million to help so many worthy causes, be they focussed on human’s, animals or the environment. No matter your religion the one thing we should all agree on is it is the season for giving.
Needless to say, I am a very proud dad.