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Posts Tagged ‘30-second commercial’

Find a URL that reflects your brand

Have you synched your brand across your various contact points?

As an increasing number of people consider consulting as an alternative strategy to their job search, they’re finding that their business cards don’t serve both purposes (i.e., their “job search” cards are not entirely “on message” for their consulting strategy). 

A friend asked me for my reaction to possible names and taglines for his new consulting practice.  At first blush, they didn’t excite me.  This is a guy whose job search is focused on finding himself a role as an “Innovation Executive.”  Clear and to the point.  When I see job postings that use those words, I think of George and forward them.

So we spent some time talking through what he loves to do and what kind of consulting projects he expects to get.  As he talked, I captured his words (because I now think he can strengthen his 30-second commercial) and typed in possible domain names (I know, I know.  I wasn’t demonstrating great listening skills but I told him what I was doing).

We found something that will work  for people Googling (Binging) his unique value proposition, particularly if he focuses on using other keywords in his blog and on his website.  His company name will work with both his job search and his prospecting for consulting clients.  All in all, 30 minutes well spent and we pledged to talk again in a few days about the taglines.

I took this same approach with my brand.  Once I got comfortable with the bulldog concept, I found a domain name that leveraged the brand.  And then I created this blog  using the same approach.  All in all, I think the three sync up pretty well, although I’m sure I could be doing better.

Is your brand consistent?  Could people find you fairly easily if they were having problems spelling (or remembering) your name, or if they were looking for someone who has your unique skills?

Take a journalist’s approach to your resume, elevator speech

Where's your focus when you look at this statue?

As I listened to a group of unemployed executives deliver their personal elevator speeches (i.e., their 30-second commercials), that little voice in the back of my head was working overtime.

“Don’t bury your lead,” it kept screaming at them as I had eerie flashbacks of my time as a newspaper editor talking to young reporters.  Time and again, the really interesting stuff — the great visual images, the jaw-dropping results — came at the end while the beginning was filled with standard phrases like “results-oriented” and “IT executive.”

In the newspaper business, the lead is normally the first paragraph that contains the essential elements of the story.  A well-written lead keeps the reader reading…rather than turning to another more interesting story.

When it comes to Simplicity, journalists have the roadmap.  Most of their stories are written in the inverted pyramid style, with the most important piece (the widest part of the pyramid) at the top and the rest of the information in decreasing order of importance.

Let’s face it.  As a reporter, a job-seeker, or someone presenting your important business idea at work, you’re competing for your audience’s attention…and they have lots of alternatives.  Time and again over the past few weeks, I’ve heard stories that a job posting had generated 200-300 responses within just a few hours.

Successful reporters agonize over their leads because it’s the most important investment they make in their stories.  A great lead makes the rest easy…and it makes their editors’ job easy because under pressure they can just cut from the bottom and print what’s left for their available space.

If you think of your boss or the recruiter as your editor, this concept becomes easier.  As they write and edit, reporters often find that their best stuff is in their third, fourth, or 10th paragraph (hence the phrase, bury the lead) so they move it up.

Think about what makes you or your idea memorable.  Now take a good look at your resume, your elevator speech or 30-second commercial, or your presentation.  If you’re making your reader work hard to find that special something, then odds are that your idea, your resume, or you are about to be placed on the No pile.

It’s not easy.  We often get so bogged down in the details that we lose our core message and bury our lead. 

Who are you?  What makes you different?  What value do you provide?  What problem can you solve?  Get that into your lead and you’ll be much closer to grabbing your audience’s full and undivided attention.

The benefits of an edgy brand

"Holy cow, the opportunity to mess with one of the most recognizable icons on Planet Earth," says Junction Point Creative Director Warren Spector, who's working on the Epic Mickey game.

Epic Mickey could be my new hero.  At the very least, he’s proof that redefining my brand in an edgier way is a good idea.

Here’s the back story.  Disney protects Mickey Mouse like a mother bear protects her cubs…if Mama Bear also had a battalion of lawyers at her beck and call.  But Disney is rethinking this approach…worried that Mickey has evolved from beloved character to corporate symbol, it’s taking the risky step of re-imagining him for the future.

They’ll start the tweaking next year with a video game, Epic Mickey, in which squeaky clean  Mickey shows traits like cunning and irritability — along with being heroic — as he travels a forbidding wasteland.  This is the first step in a bigger project to rethink Mickey’s personality — including the way he appears on the Disney Channel and how our kids interact with him on the Internet — and raise his appeal with edgier tweens and teens.

I’m not equating my brand with Mickey’s but there are some parallels.  I’ve struggled to define my brand as I look for work in an environment where hiring managers seek reasons to eliminate you rather than reasons to hire you.

In my previous job, I was known for my passion and intensity.  I was seen as someone who could get difficult tasks done.  I was once cautioned to keep the “body count” low, although in my defense that had more to do with my willingness to address bureaucracy head-on and my refusal to accept the status quo than it was a view that I had an “anything goes” mentality.

I was once described by MBNA’s chief marketing officer as a “bulldog” to a large group.  She meant it as a compliment.  I was the guy top management asked to fix the issues that came up in those annual “what keeps you awake at night” exercises.

But as I started my job search, I avoided that description.  I went vanilla, because I was worried that “bulldog” traits would cost me interviews and job opportunities.

But as time went on, I realized — thanks to the advice of friends and mentors — that I’d be wasting my time interviewing with companies that would feel my approach wouldn’t fit their culture.  In short, I needed to embrace my “inner bulldog.”

So I named my consulting company Bulldog Management Solutions.  I have built a brand focused on Bulldog Simplicity.  My LinkedIn profile doesn’t dance around the subject.

I’ve probably lost some interviews and consulting jobs.  But it makes it easier to talk about my strengths…and my weaknesses.  The approach hasn’t resulted in a full-time job yet, but I’m convinced that when it does, I’ll be happier and able to demonstrate the passion that has driven my success over the years.

What about you?  Have you taken an “edgier” approach to your personal brand?  If so, what have you done?