Thursday, 8 December 2011

Is it Sales and/or Marketing??

Someone has ignited a fuse.... MY fuse ... I have been following Twitter and the tweets from @MarketingWeekEd and with that many of the comments about Sales and Marketing as separate entities. Some I just couldn't. I was on the verge of tipping myself over the edge.

I know they are only commenting ... and everyone only sees things from their own point of view .... but what a bucket of generalism!

PURLEEZ!! First and foremost it depends on what the business is trying to achieve... It is then up to Marketing to make that happen or at very least influence results enough to make it easier for the rest of the business to make that happen....

... And given that there are a lot of businesses out there, that are more focused on working to get and keep paying customers, most marketing people couldn't function if they didn't understand sales... and when I say 'sales' I mean .... to be a quality that makes people want to buy, have, to do or not do something.

Its all very well sitting there in a Marketing tower, talking.

Marketing - like Sales, should, and in the main is, measured on results. And Marketing should be lead by what the business for which/whom it is fulfilling its role actually wants - ie The Marketing function understands their own clients needs and works to get them what they want.... It's not rocket science and it astounds me every time when people try to make it complicated!!!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Why profile build online?

Over these past few weeks I have been asked by my clients why online communication networks such as a blog, a Twitter account, a Linked In account and Facebook pages are a good idea. Without getting in to too much nitty gritty I have tried to highlight some of the main reasons:

Good reasons to have a blog:

Better Search Engine Rankings
Search engines (particularly Google) reacts favourably to new and subject specific content. If you are blogging about your subject specific services, products and/or industry – it all helps with your search engine ranking – especially because search engines love new and original content.

With a blog you can provide that type subject specific content. You can target the buzz words (keywords) that you want the search engines to recognise and get the search engines to ‘crawl’ your site more regularly as you keep updating and adding blog content.

Establish Expert Status
When you are selling a product or service, especially when you work for yourself or represent an SME, it is a good idea to build your personal profile (or personal brand) as someone with knowledge and experience – someone who knows what they are talking about ... OK - an Expert.

If your customers and potential clients see you know what you are talking about you are much more likely to increase your following and your sales and customer loyalty. A blog is an excellent tool to share interesting information which is relevant to your business.

Point Traffic to Your Website
I would encourage people to link their blog back to the relevant pages on their website. Whilst you are updating content on your blog and people have found your comments on your blog, it is sensible to provide a link to your main website so they can see more about your business.

Widen Your Target Audience
As much as I would encourage your blog to be within your industry subject, there are often ways to expand your topics – ie topical news, forthcoming market events, client stories etc ... With your blog you can write about related topics and reach an audience that might not naturally engage with your specific products and services. For example:
  • Graduates and interviewees may be interested in personal branding if it was related to job interviews and promotion.
  • Leadership and training providers might engage with a new audience if they were to comment on the leadership attributes of current news story politicians.
  • Career and life coaches might provide their view point in to recent civil unrest and the community engagement currently being undertaken by local and national officials.
Linking Up
Others will link to quality blog content. As with your website, the more links you have the higher up the search engine results, which help drive traffic to your blog. If your website is ‘on of many’, having a blog with original, interesting content can help your business profile.

Increases Business Activity and Customer Perception
By updating your blog regularly you remind people you are there, you are busy and you are open for business. It is easy to update a blog and regular articles will help people to recognise you as that expert (in your sector).

It has been reported that 52% of buyers have said that a blog influences their purchasing decision.

Get help
Once you have a blog you don’t have to write everything yourself – you can invite guest writer to write for you. In blogging terms this is very popular as both side benefit. You get blog content and the writer gets promoted on an external source and I would offer links back to their (and your) website.

Be Audience Brave
If you activate the comments facility on your blog, ask questions and carry out polls you can start to work out what people think of your industry, your products and services. You may have seen this facility already on some blogs and be worried about open complaints and/or criticism, but if you openly apologies and address negative comments you can convert these. You can turn negatives in to positives and increase customer loyalty and respect for you, your products and services.

Keeps Your Audience Updated
With a lot of websites it can be difficult to build a relationship with your customers. Your blogging can be a little more ‘chatty’ – ie have you got some examples of client usage. Have you just launched a new product or service. Do you have some news about your business – fundraising, sponsorship etc. If people engage you are more likely to make more sales.

Good Reasons to Tweet (on Twitter)
  • Opening up a Twitter account is quick and easy – the hardest thing is coming up with a unique name that people (followers) will be able to find you with.
  • From an online point of view Twitter allows you to link to your website. It also is a great vehicle for pointing followers to your updated blog and other items of interest – and thus build your profile as an expert in your chosen field.
  • Twitter is a great way for you to follow others in your sector, to retweet sector related items of interest and build an online social network of contacts.
  • Google uses tweets to help to index contents faster and having another online profile linking to your website is not going to hurt your personal profile.
  • With Twitter you have just 140 characters (including spaces) to put your comments and insights over. If you are unsure what to write go to other people on Twitter that you have an interest in and see what they write.
  • NB: Don’t fall in tot the trap of telling people you are having a coffee, that you have a hangover or anything else that is of no value to your business and/or personal brand.
  • NB2: People ask me how much to tweet. Social media experts would say several times a day for the rankings – however do yourself and your followers a favour and although I am keen that you tweet regularly, only tweet relevant and interesting items.
There are a few other areas of Twitter – but the above are the main points – the rest we will cover in a later blog.

Good Reasons to get Linked In
  • To start with look at Linked In primarily as an online contact directory. This platform has been highly adopted by the business community and is a good way to link up with contacts and use as a referral vehicle.
  • You can link back to your website, your blog, your twitter account etc. You can use your account settings to update your profile with your twitter feed, and link with Facebook. All good stuff for search engines.
  • Your Linked In account gives you the opportunity to put together a history of your experience, your key achievements and can act as a shop window for you as an individual.
  • There are many other areas of Linked In – these are the first points and I would recommend, if you haven’t already, you set up an account, use an appropriate photo of yourself and update the information.
Reasons for Facebook
  • Many see Facebook as more of a ‘social’ social network. There are a lot of people who have accounts and use it for family, friends etc. As you can only have one account on Facebook, for business it is suggested that you use the ‘add a page’ facility to build your business page.
  • Facebook tends to work better for consumer facing businesses. It is a great place to gather immediate feedback and comments.
  • Search engine Bing uses Likes as a ranking sign for logged in Facebook users.
There are many other areas of Facebook and indeed other online platforms including, and Google+. Currently from a business point of view, start with these (as well as your website) and you will be well on the way to influencing your online business profile.

If you would like to find out more information or if you think I might be able to help with anything shown above, contact me at or visit the website at

Monday, 19 September 2011

Get a Clear Head Shot

Over the past, what must be now, six months, I have seen about loads of online discussions entitled, something along the lines of 'How important is your headshot/personal avatar?'

And as much as I understand why people get all huffy about - people shouldn't make assumptions - and you can't read a book by it's cover - and all those other great phrases of insight ...

We are (as far as I am aware) human, and as humans we make judgements and assumptions all the time, with and without knowing it. We just can't help ourselves.

It is an evolutionary trait - We judge everything by its appearance.
  • We choose better looking fruit, veg, food stuffs, because that is what we are programmed to do. Anything else might not taste good, or worse, be bad for us.
  • We make the majority of a decision - ie if we like someone or something - just by looking at it/them.
  • We judge the intelligence, background, social skills, personality, status of people when we look at them - without thinking about it. We can't help it.

But let's get real. When talking about online avatars and headshot photos, perhaps we should just be sensible. People have profiles and online accounts to network, comment, build profiles etc .... they are there, one way or another, to be judged - so I suggest we all get over ourselves, work with human nature and put up a good clear headshot of yourself. To not do it suggests that you are hiding/

Anyway, perhaps the question shouldn't be - 'How important is your headshot?'. Perhaps it should be - 'How do I want to be percieved?'. Having a photo of anything, yourself, or nothing will, whether you want it to or not, communicate an image and message to your online audience. Live with it!... or better still, work with it!

To find out more visit the Lippy Marketer website at or email

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Paranoid Marketing

I was with a client recently who (quite rightly) was "just checking" what they should be doing online - and by that they of course meant their website and other 'social stuff' as they put it.

It has to be said that there is certainly an interdependency between SEO (search engine optimisation - ie where you or your business comes in the results from a search on Google, for example) and social media for better business promotion. Social media (eg Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Linked In etc) go hand-in-hand with SEO.
I whole heartedly recommend using social media and online tools and promote yourself and your business, AND YOU SHOULD REMEMBER: as much as you might feel that your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and Twitter, are yours, you don't own them. The online businesses do, so use them to support and promote but please make sure that you aren't making these sites the centre of your success.
Here are a few tips from Penny C. Sansevieri (@bookgal) to help you :
  • Website: You should always, always, always have a website. I know some authors who use Facebook as their websites. Big mistake. I know other authors who get a website that doesn't belong to them, meaning they are part of a community of free sites they don't own. If the community decides to stop doing websites and goes away, guess what happens? So does your content.
  • Smart Social Media: One of the things I really recommend is that you centre all of your content around your website. That's partially why I suggest linking your blog and your website to Facebook and Twitter. The content starts on your site and gets funneled from there, rather than in reverse.
  • Other ways to promote: Consider other ways to promote your stuff that isn't tied to your online accounts directly. Interviews on (other) blogs, white papers, webinar events. Yes, you are still putting stuff out there on other sites, I'm not saying not to. I'm saying that you need to make sure that whatever content you put out there is reflected on your site as well.
  • Duplicate content: There's a problem with posting huge amounts of duplicate content online, but unless you are pushing hundreds of pieces out a month, I doubt you have anything to worry about. However, the flip side is that you want to make sure you have copies of all the content you put out there. If you're uploading a video on YouTube, don't delete it off of your computer because you think it's "safe" on this site. It may very well be, but if you lose your page or YouTube gets bought (again) and morphs into something else, you're in trouble.
  • Website... more: When I talked about having a website, I'm not just talking about having a one or two-pager. I mean have a robust site packed with content. Make sure that you have a blog, and you might consider adding a resource section, etc. All information about your books should be on the site (don't rely on Amazon to house this for you) and be sure that any ordering information is on your site as well. Wait! You might ask, is Amazon in danger of going away? Not likely. But as they've shown in the past by pulling down books and buy buttons without warning: they are Amazon and can do whatever they want.
  • Traffic: So, the nitty-gritty of promotion is what? Sales, right? Sure, and exposure too (though I think you should target exposure first, then sales, but that's another article). If you're sending all of your traffic to social media sites, guess what? Your website traffic is probably pretty low or non-existent. If you send traffic to social media sites guess who benefits? Well, certainly you do in the way of exposure, but long-term this isn't a good plan. Let me explain why. If you aren't promoting your site as the center of the universe, and instead pushing people to social media sites, then your website isn't getting those super valuable incoming links from blogs, websites, etc. that you are promoting yourself to. As a result, your site will sink in Google rankings. That means if you lost one or more of your social media sites, you could certainly pick up the pieces and start sending people to your site, but that will be a long, hard haul. Better to focus on that now and gather that traffic, along with the buzz you create in social media, so you aren't caught with a zero starting point if anything happens.
You might think that the moral of this story is a slightly paranoid "trust no one" mantra but it's not. It's about protecting your stuff and being a smart and savvy author. While there are no guarantees in anything, you need to be smart about all of these wonderful, free, not-owned-by-you social media sites. You might do a fantastic job of driving traffic, fans, and likes to various pages. But the reality is that you should focus on what you own, your website. I love my social media sites and yes, it's a widely known fact that I'm addicted to Twitter. Yet they aren't the center of my online universe, my website is. Yours should be, too.
Great advice from Penny!
If you have any comments, or want to contact me - email me via and visit our website at

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Brand Yourself. Sell Yourself.

Sometimes, just sometimes, people look at me as if I am a total wally... Ok they look at me like that a lot – but concentrating on branding for a moment – there are three main reasons:

1. When I talk about branding, impact and personal branding.
When people are asked about branding, most think - company logos, names and tag lines (eg. Just do it. Nike) and maybe even uniforms; but there's a lot more to branding than just colours, logos and names – and it is exactly the same for individuals.

It drives me slightly over the edge when I hear people talking about personal branding and in the same breath list off typical corporate clothes - ie cream suits or red ties as the answer to everything.
That’s just not it!... We already know that most of us get in a flap about what we should wear to an interview, a first date or a big event ... but what about the rest?

So if personal branding isn’t just about the clothes or shoes or matching bicycle clips - what is personal branding about?
It's about conveying who you are and the value you bring. It’s about communication. Not just the words you use - It's how you use words. It's how you interact and react. It’s your body language. It's the entire presentation of yourself.

2. When I say people need to 'sell' themselves.
We all have to sell ourselves at some point. And like most people you probably don't want to seem hugely conceited  or self-serving, however there is a balance and you need to present yourself, your product or service in the best way possible that also allows you to maintain your dignity and self-respect.

Properly promoting yourself and using your brand to help can open doors, but at the same time shameless, loud self-promotion can damage your public image.
Personal branding is not hard – I do it, so it must be relatively easy, but it doesn’t happen over-night and it takes a bit of time - but it really isn’t rocket science.

Main Personal Branding Aims
  • Define yourself. If you are clear about yourself, then people will find it easier to understand and ‘get’ you.
  • Identify your value(s). Clearly identifying what you offer and what you do – your core products/services. 
  • Define your over-riding message(s). Every public touchpoint – ie website, social media account, business cards etc need to relate the same clear message(s)
  • Create your public image. With the Internet so much is possible – I would suggest you need professional photos, business cards, readymade materials that can be tailored for when people want more information, a website and/or a blog, consistent social network presence – that doesn’t mix your social, family side with your professional, business side.
  • Ensure consistent brand delivery. Once you have things is place you need to maintain a consistent brand – anything else will undo your personal work, confuse and dilute.
3. Imagine that you’re not you.

Of course what I mean is – imagine you are your target audience, your customer of choice.

The fact that you have been an international trifle decorator for the past twenty five years might be of huge importance to you but from a client or potential customer’s point of view, first and foremost they generally want to know that you can provide a perfect solution to their requirement.

Cos let’s face it ... no one actually want to spend any money with you....

What they really want is the solution - and by that I mean what they perceive you can help them achieve, or how you can make them feel.

So in pretty much any situation where you are looking to promote yourself or your services or your company, the best place to start is by figuring out what your audience or potential audience wants.

Once you understand your audiences' needs you can tailor yourself and your wares to their requirements. Leading with their priorities, rather than your own.

For further information, help with branding or personal branding or if you want to argue a point email

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Branding is not an 'off the shelf' purchase

OOooh ... doesn't it make you - er - smile!

I have the opportunity to work with some lovely business people. Business people who really seem to understand the value of looking professional and building a consistent business brand - yet recently, I have come across some clients who have adopted 'off the shelf' logos or stock design business cards.

Great Ideas - right?!!?

Let me put it this way - I have a lovely client that I would class as a friend. When I met her she very excitedly showed me her new business cards. Bought online (nothing wrong with that). Contact details all her own (excellent). Colours and layout as 'suggested' by the printing company from their stock designs (arghh!).

So why did I cringe so violently?

In her business, her clients and her target markets are high-end corporate clients, national organisations and global institutions. The business cards design she had chosen, although good colours and a simple layout, were not her own. She used a stock design from an online printing company ... which of course means that any other business could use that design - window cleaner, child minder, mobile nail extension technician.... car valeting, taxi services, piano teacher ....

Now I'm not saying this client is any better or worse than small businesses - what I am saying is there is a time and occassion for business resources to be used - and when you run, even the slightest risk, of one day a client or potential customer saying - 'Oh my dog walker has a business card like yours and you want to charge me £1,600 a day for your services' - it affects your brand.

Logo Libraries - The same should be said for those occassions that business people might use online logo making software and services for their business.

This service is also great and OK for some - but when you are dealing with bigger businesses and corporates; and/or you intend selling your business for the odd million or two; having an identical logo that, firstly others might have and secondly cannot sensibly be regarded as your business's unique and valued corporate brand, then you have to think - it may affect your brand.

I'm not about sour grapes - I think both services are excellent - however, keep your eyes wide open and your brain in gear.

If either of the above will affect your business brand in the slightest negative or hesitant way - don't do it. It is so much more expensive to restart than get experienced branding help from the get go.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

How to Design a Strong Logo

Recently I have had conversations with a few people regarding logos and branding for businesses... now I am all for innovative thinking and new ideas, however there are a few human things that you should be aware of if you are thinking about designing your own logo...

For a logo to reproduce in various formats it is generally a good idea to have a very high resolution picture file (ie rasta file - with pixels) oooorrrrrr even better, have your logo in a vector format (in lines and shapes). It will save your logo becoming soft and/or blurred.

Black is OK ... but ... it can be a pretty restrictive colour - a sweeping statement - however research shows that humans like, and are attracted to, colour and a coloured logo will generally be more eye catching.

When thinking about colour make sure your feature colour has multi use and multi design capabilities – ie when the logo is reproduced on a white background there generally lots of choice, however often logos will be used on coloured, dark or black background. The logo needs to be able to handle all background colours and colourways. Added to which there are occasions that the logo will be produced in black and white only. The logo design needs to be able to handle those occasions too.

A strong logo icon and robust logo type is important for reproduction – anything too fine or too light will be wishy washy and fade away to the human eye. – there is only a nano second to make that logo brand impact, if it is not strong and visible the opportunity will be lost.

Generally speaking where there is a lot of text or a range of capital letters, fonts with Sans Serif become blocky to the human eye. In other words the eye tries looks at each individual letter rather than reading a series of them together. If the same text uses a Serif font then the eye has much less to struggle with.  Equally using upper and lower case can assist the eye further in capturing a statement or a range of text

Finally a good logo will generally have two basic design elements to its design. There will be an icon that can be used along with the logo type or indeed as a standalone icon or avatar. Equally the logo type (ie the words) should be able to be used as a standalone aspect of the company brand.

Using the above as guidance will help you create a strong logo - and if you have any questions contact me at

Monday, 16 May 2011

Your Personal Brand is Your Xfactor

Recently there seems to have been a number of ‘conversations’ on various online forums which have been talking about business impact and how clothes affect your personal brand. Including things like “do clothes maketh the woman?” and “Does My Career Look Big in This?” - which have been interesting to browse through – but at the same time every now and again make me wince.

Don’t get me wrong – the thoughts in the main are absolutely fine - that said there have been no stunning revelations or newly discovered eureka moments ... and I do agree that clothes can play a key part in defining your own personal brand.

BUT .... simply wearing certain clothes and dressing a particular way are a long way from developing your own personal brand.

Your personal brand is everything about you - it is the sum total of the perceptions, meanings and understanding of what your ‘audience’ believes you to be in their heads and hearts. It is everything they think, feel, say, read, hear, watch, guess, imagine, believe and suspect about you – and when it comes to being self employed that is also reflected in your business, your services and/or your products.

You need to think about your personal brand way before you ‘launch’ yourself (eg: try to win new business, make a presentation, go for a job promotion or any other situation) where you are seen by your employers, your employees, your clients, your prospects, your fans ... whatever and whomever your audience might be... It is more than sensible - it is critical - that you to understand where you think you are with your own personal brand and where others put you.

Your personal brand is serious and a massively important aspect to you, and your future.  In business it also gives you potential - If you build your brand to be something particular – others understand that there is a premium to using you and your services or products – cost and convenience factors do not sit as prominent deciding factors.

In business (and in your personal life) managing your own personal brand can help you achieve your goals and stop you from falling in to the cheaper or more convenient business provider categories. To find out more email

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

You Are Your Business Brand

Being self-employed or a business owner - how you look, act and behave can impact on the reputation of your business and your bottom line.

You are your business and with that you are your business’ brand.  Being self-employed and/or a business owner means that your brand and your business brand are really one in the same.

Even ignoring your business cards, your website, your telephone answering techniques, your logo, your marketing materials ... et al - there is more than that to think about!!
  • how you respond publicly and privately to clients or suppliers
  • how you talk with staff, colleagues and team members
  • what you say about your competitors
  • how you present yourself at industry events
  • the thoughts and comments you share with others – on and off line

... it ALL impacts - not only your personal brand, but your business’ brand - and this can impact your sales, your income and your customers buying habits.

So whilst I and many others would love to say what we really think, in true life and in business we can’t always do that.  Online and in public it comes down to finding the right topics and issues on which to comment and give your opinion on - whilst at the same time finding a positive way or appropriate way to say what you think. Even more importantly it is knowing when it’s better not to say anything at all!

When you ARE the business we need to consider every ‘touch point’ and every interaction. Every email, every conversation and every meeting is Public in one way or another – and it’s on YOUR record. 

In fact the younger generation should think further – see the blog by Andy Pickles - He makes an excellent case. 

It is amazing what some people will say in writing, in a blog post or in a tweet. In this digital age, personal and business lines are most definitely blurred. Every photo on Facebook and every Tweet is a very public and a pretty visible record of your personal brand.

If you’re not sure about your personal or business brand take a step back and have an objective look, ask others for feedback, survey your clients or contact me to find out how I can help -

Monday, 25 April 2011

Personal Branding - It's Not all 'Fur Coat'

Personal Branding isn’t all about the clothes you wear, the designers you follow and how many times a week you go to the gym. It is about being you. The true you. The consistent you.

Everyone - ALL people - without exception, regardless of whether they know it or not - have their own personal brand.

It's about perception and perspective. We all have an image, and a reputation. The really big question is – 
are you nurturing and controlling your own personal brand?

We all have the ability to brand ourselves in a positive way. Personal brands aren’t defined in our genes or where we have come from. We see that every day when the most unlikely of candidates change their lives.

To pick just three for example:
  • Bill Gates dropped out of college
  • Liam Gallagher was expelled from school and was under probation at 13 years old
  • Richard Branson has dyslexia and is reported as having a poor academic performance as a student.
Having lived and breathed marketing and branding in the corporate world for over 20 years, I believe that individuals can learn from businesses with strong brands and build their own beneficial personal brand.

Successful businesses rarely try to be all things to all people. They look for their position. Their niche. A friend of mine that worked with Donald Fisher at The Gap tells the story that Fisher said – “keep it narrow and keep it deep”.
  • Think about the MX5 – a small car. Not a family car. Not for transporting big stuff. But nevertheless successful because Mazda MX5 focused on a core group of customers who really love their product.
Branding Can be Wafty
Another thing about branding is that is can be a bit wafty – sometimes you just can’t put your finger on it. My favourite quote from someone, no doubt hugely famous, is “Branding is the intangible value placed on a badge of reassurance”. Think BMW. Think Red Cross. Think Marks and Sparks. The brand is there keeping it real and creating an emotional bond.

So when it comes to turning your attention to your own personal brand – first take an assessment of yourself – discover what you (and your image) means to others. Once you know where you are you can then think about what you want your image to be and set goals to achieve it without losing sight of the fact that your personal brand should be a True You

Knowing who you are and your inner values. Understanding what promises you want (and are prepared) to make CONSISTENTLY and you will start to control the perception of your own personal brand.