So, if a cuddly, pink blanket with sleeves can not only exist but be somewhat of a phenomenon, why can’t we all put something out into the world that brings value?
"What do you do?” It’s a question that is casually asked in Ubers, at cocktail parties, and in elevators around the globe. There’s even a term for it—“the elevator pitch”: a succinct reiteration of the solutions or a sales pitch. When I tell people that I own my own marketing firm and work with organizations to help them meet their communication goals, there is typically a blank stare. Then realization hits, eyes light up, and the response: “You do PR!”
Back to the drawing board to perfect my own one-liner about my business, I’ve done a lot of pondering about exactly what I offer my clients. Henceforth, I came up with the golden trifecta of marketing communications, planning and content development, and strategic storytelling. This has really clarified my offer to small- to medium-sized businesses and the non-profit organizations I support.
But then, the dreaded “You do graphic design?” or “Does that mean social media?” pops up again and again. So, to set the record straight, what is marketing? The better question to me is, “What does marketing include?”
A good strategic marketing communications plan includes sections on brand. “Oh, a brand is my logo, right?” A company’s brand certainly includes a logo, but in addition to visual cues of design and colors, it’s the essence of what the organization does, its competencies, and its values. Brand includes the personality of the group—what is the voice/tone, language, key messages, and how the organization meets the needs of key audiences.
Once the foundation of brand is set, then an overall marketing strategy can be determined. This includes deciding on the best tactics—like leveraging advertising campaigns and public relations—to market the brand. While a paid social media push is a fantastic idea for product company with incredible imagery, it may not be the best option for a professional services organization. This is where strategy comes into play. And crafting the right story—via this strategic storytelling I keep mentioning—is crucial.
We think content strategy should be at the center of any strategic marketing plan, feeding channels such as website, public relations, social media, blog posts, etc. The goal is to showcase our clients’ expertise in their fields, and strategic storytelling and sharing client’s unique value proposition is at the cornerstone of our communication efforts.
Public relations: absolutely essential—with the correct messaging. Graphic design, snazzy infographics, and catching imagery…yasss! Carefully planned events and orchestrated launches can be excellent parts of a larger marketing strategy. Newsletters…even handwritten thank you notes can be a more traditional tactical arm used well with other components.
I think you get the point—all of the above are encompassed in the bigger grouping of “marketing”. And we do a lot of it…it’s in our DNA and part of our everyday work. Cue the elevator music…and please contact us if we can help you on any of your strategic marketing and communications objectives.
When I started my business over three years ago, I didn’t realize become a jack of all trades. I figured I’d be completely focused on the strategic marketing activities of my clients…and for a couple of hours a month on my own business. How wrong I was! I’ve learned to set aside time to work on my own brand, as well as set up and run a small business. It’s tremendously daunting to think of all the work that goes into going out on my own, but I have learned a few important things…insert teaser here for an upcoming blog post.
What I did right from the start—and probably stumbled upon—was surround myself with supportive people and allies. In a culture where words like tribe and squad are thrown around, I hesitated before calling this assembled force a tribe. Yet when thinking about it, one of the first things both my mentor Lori and client Nikkole advised was: get a tribe.
Tribe /trīb/ noun: close friends, group of people who are loyal to you, care for you like family. In a business environment, a tribe includes mentors, partners, encouragers, and connectors.
Urban Dictionary defines tribe as “close friends, group of people who are loyal to you, care for you like family.” For this post, I’ll take it wider to include specific people like mentors, partners, encouragers, and connectors. I even count resources like Judi Holler’s Friday FAB Five email and the Copyblogger FM podcast as experts in my extended tribe. And I must say, one cannot be successful without a delightful combination of all types in one’s posse.
To those of you who knowingly are in my tribe, you have my gratitude. And to those influencers, thought leaders, and role models that are putting positive ideas and encouragement into the world, thank you. To my clients, I appreciate you for allowing me to partner as a part of your organization’s marketing team.
And to my readers, if you have a gap in your external communications or strategic storytelling, I’d love to be a part of your group. It’s a big world out there, and we must get together to create an impact. I’d welcome an opportunity to join forces and make a bigger splash! Click here to start the conversation.