Set Yourself Apart | Operationalize an Entrepreneurial Spirit

A few of the larger organizations I’ve worked for include ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ on their list of core values. Unfortunately, most of the employees are unclear as to what that actually means and how they are expected to display entrepreneurial characteristics in their daily activities. Within a smaller organization or a startup, this may be more easily realized given the inherent mindset and culture of the work environment. But for larger organizations, corporate bureaucracy, complexities, control, and investor pressures bring a host of challenges and barriers. Established brands, organizational hierarchies, and endless policies and procedures can breed complacency.

No matter the size of the organization you work for, or even if you are in fact an entrepreneur launching your own business, proactively incorporating core elements of an entrepreneurial spirit is vital to distinguishing oneself in a sea of talent, building professional excellence, and achieving long-term success.

Upgrade | Raising the Standards in How We Work

I was watching this video blog post by Marie Forleo the other day and it got me thinking about the standards we set for ourselves in the work that we do. Not just the goals and objectives we establish in our planning activities, but the actual level of standards applied in what we do and how we do it.

As Marie has noted, all too often we have experiences with brands that result in frustration, negativity, and lack of focus or responsiveness to our needs. We’re simply not being heard. In a competitive market where the bottom line becomes the driving force to every interaction, quality, service, and human relationships can take a back seat.

As business professionals, we each have a responsibility to present our best selves to those we serve by constantly looking for new opportunities to raise the bar.

This simple idea isn’t about innovation or creating the next great product or service in the effort to make more money. This is about increasing the expectations we set for our business, ourselves, and those we work with, so we can expand and enrich the collective value and experiences we bring to those we serve.

5 Steps to Surrounding Yourself With The Right People

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

For some of us, this may be a horrifying thought. For others, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not very exciting or empowering either.

When you look around at the people you spend the most time with, both personally and professionally, how do they make you feel or think? Are they supportive, or do they always have a negative or deflating comment for just about everything you share with them? Do they seek out the worst in every situation and complain endlessly, only to suck the joy right out of you? Or maybe they’re the ones that say nothing at all and move on to the next topic, essentially letting you know there is no value in your words. And then there are those that are glued to their smartphones not even listening, only to ask you a question about something you already shared with them two minutes prior. It’s demeaning and disrespectful.

Sadly, we’ve all been there, we’ve all had experiences with people like this, and for many of us, they’re still around. Those people can limit our success and dictate our failure.

9 Steps to Transform Employees Into Brand Ambassadors

The role of brand promotion no longer rests solely on the shoulders of the marketing organization. The proliferation of social platforms and technology tools parlays the voice of many with much greater ease and impact. The active role employees can play in brand visibility and transparency is profound. Organizations now want to partner with employees for greater brand exposure.

Getting our company profiles on social platforms, or launching a corporate blog and communicating to employees is one thing, but how can we go a few steps further to ensure our employees are an extension of our brand and that they proudly share within their own networks our greatest stories. We’re now asking employees to leverage their personal platforms and play the role of brand ambassador speaking on behalf of the organization. 5 to 10 years ago, this idea may have scared off most marketing and legal departments, but today this is a desired practice of the most successful and powerful brands.

How do we not only encourage our employees to spread the word but to also articulate the brand identity in a meaningful and accurate way? …

7 Ways to Strengthen Your Virtual Workplace Persona

The virtual workforce is a business trend on the rise and working from home offices along with it. The convenience of technology innovations coupled with the nature of knowledge worker professions allows us to work from almost any location we choose.

According to Global Workplace Analytics, 2.6% of the U.S. workforce telecommutes at least half the time, and since 2005 it’s grown nearly 80%. This article in the New York Times proves the trend continues. In the latest Intuit 2020 Report, researchers predict there will be an accelerated increase of a “contingent workforce” such as freelancers and contractors making up nearly 40-50% of the workforce by the year 2020.

Working from a home office is becoming less of a luxury and more of a standard. Yet many aren’t certain they have the right discipline or even the proper set-up to maintain an effective professional life within the home.

Launching a Subject Matter Expert Program

Driving new thought leadership and premium media opportunities for an organization requires a thoughtful communications plan aligned to core business priorities and goals. But you also have to partner with the best people to develop critical content, leverage in the right press opportunity, and to seamlessly showcase the deep thought leadership of your organization and its clients.

This is where a solid subject matter expert (SME) program can make an enormous difference in your planning efforts.

What is a SME?

Simply put, a SME is an individual with deep knowledge, skill, and expertise in a particular subject area or domain. There may be varying levels of proficiency or focus, and that’s a good thing as it allows you to leverage individuals in multiple ways.

When looking to build a successful SME program for your organization, there are numerous things to consider, collect, and prepare before launching. Below are key components to jump-start an impactful thought leadership program.

16 Tips for Developing High Impact Press Releases

 

In my experiences overseeing public relations, I have often been approached by business leaders and subject matter experts to create and publish a press release simply for the sake of getting the company or offering out in the market. Often times the reason for the urgency has been that they’ve had a hard time selling their product or service – there may be a belief that getting a press release out to the public will suddenly reduce the sales lifecycle or close a specific deal.

While I do feel a well-written press release and a thoughtful media campaign can impact awareness and potential sales, it’s not going to be the sole tactic to drive a large increase. Instead, it should part of a broader campaign and message strategy.

To ensure the success of a press release, there are numerous considerations before the first draft is even developed. Below are several items to consider before, during, and after the development of a press release to ensure you get the most value and impact from the right business opportunities.

Best Practices for Creating a Robust Online Newsroom

The evolution of the internet and the ability for anyone to create and share content at a moment’s notice is exciting, and maybe a bit terrifying at the same time. Technological advances continue to saturate the storytelling ecosystem at an astonishing rate. This is great for the content creator, but can also feel like an insurmountable obstacle for media outlets and journalists. The mission of finding a unique and timely story has become even more challenging as the competitive landscape of a reporter continues to explode.

Great organizations, and specifically their PR teams, should look for opportunities to simplify the process and build strong and enduring relationships with the media. One of the best things an organization can do is to develop a robust, easy-to-use, online newsroom. If reporters are consistently racing to find a unique story angle, a fresh point of view, as well as a strong subject matter expert (SME), why not provide them what they need quickly and easily so they get their story, and you can share your organization’s thought leadership?

My Top Advice for Launching a Career in Communications and PR

Like many seasoned practitioners, I’ve often been approached by individuals seeking advice as they begin a career in the field of corporate communications and public relations (PR). Usually, they ask for my opinion on what it’s really like to work in this profession day-to-day or the best way to build a successful and fulfilling career.

There are loads of advice and numerous suggestions out there which are generally spot on. However, I always offer the caveat that there are certain factors making each experience unique. Things like geographic location, corporate culture, business or industry focus, company size, and executive leadership are just a few circumstances that can individualize an experience, for better or for worse.

For me, I came into the field in a non-traditional manner versus a more direct route. I didn’t set out to be here, but this is where I ended up. I actually prefer that this was an evolution for me as I think that brought me greater insights into people, the role, and the clients I serve.

Based on my personal experiences, as well as those I know in the industry and the paths they forged, I’ve compiled my best advice for anyone wanting to launch a career in corporate communications and PR.

Corporate Communications and PR Trends 2017

What are the trends for the coming year? As with most predictions, they are an evolution from the years before, making them even easier to foretell. In other cases, there are those hidden gems that emerge, leapfrog, or completely transform beyond our wildest expectations. Therein lies the fun.

I believe that 2017 will continue to invigorate communications and PR, pushing the boundaries of our storytelling chops. From mobile and social, digital and visual, big data and content customization, the upcoming trends will allow brands to truly expand their creative communications toolkit.

As we review the field, there are plenty of elements where we can take our media tactics to the next level, but with an emphasis on greater integration. The strategic collaboration with other organizational functions will galvanize efforts, elevating brand visibility, value, and trust.

Maximizing Social Media | Explorative questions to get the most from your social program

I recently spoke with a former colleague of mine about launching a social program in her new organization. She was being asked by executive leadership to essentially do this as a “side project” in addition to her existing roles. She and I both knew that in order to do this the right way, to gain the most value, requires a dedicated resource and a well thought out strategy and communications plan even before that first profile is built. 

There is so much to think about when launching a social program to ensure it successfully aligns to a companies business objectives and brand.

After attending a few networking events, it was apparent that many of my peers are often asked the same thing – to launch or manage a social program with little or any strategic alignment. In some cases, there seems to be a short-term need they are trying to accommodate, and in other cases, it was simply a desire to have a presence like everyone else.

How Building Successful Communities is Like Hosting a Dinner Party

There have been excellent advancements in online community development and management over the years, with technology platforms, support tools, and engagement techniques. However, the basic premise of what makes them successful remains much the same. After many years of managing internal and external communities, I liken them to the care and attention one gives to hosting a dinner party.

Generally, you want all invited guests to show up, to fully engage in active and stimulating conversation, to enjoy the foods you have prepared, and to exit knowing they will tell their friends and family about their positive experience and happily return with great enthusiasm.

Beat the Blasé with Field Trips

Remember how excited you’d get as a kid when it came time to take a field trip? To hop on a school bus and leave the monotony of the classroom for a day so you could engross yourself in something new and different. It was a refreshing break from the confines of four beige walls, uncomfortable desks, and boring books. You got the chance to interact in a more dynamic environment and socialize with your closest friends. It was a limited opportunity to become immersed in a real life, hands-on setting versus the mind-numbing daily lectures and textbooks.

As adults, we don’t always get those same opportunities, or maybe we do and just don’t think of them in the same way as we used to. We may view that off-site trip as a business meeting or networking event, which completely depletes our energy levels and makes us want to crawl back into bed. But more than likely, as busy professionals we just don’t create those experiences for ourselves—with our overloaded calendars and endless task lists. We never make the effort to push ourselves outside daily routines to experience something different and gain a fresh perspective.

50 Quotes to Ignite Your 2015

Quotes can be powerful tools to drive great change and achieve peak performance. They make us think, motivate us, inspire us, give us courage, and sometimes transform our lives. They are reminders of strength, perseverance, positivity, and meaningful action – a small timely piece of information that can push us one step further when we need it most.  And who originated the quote can deeply impact how we internalize their message.

Many of us tend to collect or capture a few quotes that resonated with us at any given point in time. We may have inspiration boards full of them, refrigerator doors covered with them, or notebooks haphazardly filled with random passages. In any case, these words moved us for a reason.

I ended my year by reviewing my own notebooks and decided to capture the top quotes I had scribbled about into one stimulating collection that I hope will motivate and inspire you in 2015.

Time to Celebrate | Happy New Year!

 

It’s New Year’s Eve and the world is gleefully raising a glass to the completion of the old year and the welcoming of a new. It’s a time for celebration and revelry. Like an empty page or a blank canvas, the possibilities are boundless. Let the spirit of a brand new beginning intoxicate and entice.

Celebration on this day is, of course, an expected behavior. Observing all holidays, as well as birthdays, weddings, and other significant or material events is part of what we as humans consider commonplace. It’s an integral part of life.

The mere point of celebration is to pause from our daily routines, our busy lives, and the expectations and demands from others so that we can express joy, appreciation, gratitude, and thanks. We suspend the ordinary so we may spend devoted time with those we care about and rejoice in an occasion by marking it with something special or enjoyable. Sounds lovely to me.