Are You Likable?

Are you likable?

Seriously? You ask.

Seriously.

Over the years, the one thing that I’ve seen that might be the factor that beats out talent is Likability. I can’t explain it, but if people like you, they tend to trust you – and if they trust you, you usually end up with their business. This may be the ONE thing that leads you to all the business you ever wanted. So are you likable?

I don’t want this to read like it’s some quick way to manipulate your potential clients at all. That’s not what this is about. My purpose of this article is that all of us, as humans, would take a look at ourselves, our morals, our beliefs, etc. and see if what we really believe about ourselves is reflected out in the “business world.”

Is it true sometimes we just need someone to come in and do the job? Sure. I heard a sermon one time where the pastor said, “Just because you’re a Christian Plumbing Company, doesn’t mean I want you to fix my pipes. I want the guy that can come in get the job done and go.” I get that (in some respects), BUT I do feel that if you are building a relationship with a person or business there needs to be a little bit more than the “I can get the job done” persuasion. There are hundreds of folks that can probably solve that businesses problem(s), but what separates you from them is they aren’t YOU. You are unique and so make them realize that.

“Some people are just likable,” you say? I would agree with that statement. But why don’t you think you are? Is it you’re not a people person? Well, I hate to say it, but you’re not being hired by a wall, you’re being hired by a human. So become a people person. Even when it feels weird to be nice, be nice and see what happens. Show your passion for what you do. If you lack in that area, then you probably don’t believe in what you’re selling. And if you don’t believe in what you’re selling, then you’re probably in the wrong business. Just saying.

I feel that there is something in all of us that wants to embrace people more, but we’re a little scared to show our true selves. Let me say, you can still be yourself and act as a professional simultaneously. People want authenticity more than you think.

So, If you’re into handwriting thank you cards after an introduction, DO IT! If you’re the type that calls instead of emails DO IT! If you like to have a good laugh to break the ice, DO IT! If you like to tell people “God Bless You,” DO IT! Whatever the case be respectful, be professional, be genuine, be YOU, but more than that…be a LIKABLE YOU.

What’s Your Excuse?

We recently began working on a new collaborative campaign for clients Big Peach Running Company and New Balance entitled: “What’s Your Excuse”. We kicked off with a 90 second production and will be releasing episodes of a web series over the coming months. Take a look at the kickoff and ask yourself…what’s YOUR excuse?
 

If you’re looking for a unique way to connect with your audience, consider a creative video campaign. We love working together to discover how to best reach new prospects as well as your existing followers to educate and entertain. A sound strategy can yield incredible results when all the pieces are in place.

Why Newness Creates Momentum

Years ago I was at a conference where Andy Stanley was speaking. Most people in my neck of the woods know who Andy is, but in case you don’t, he’s the lead pastor of North Point Community Church and speaks a ton on leadership. His whole message, in this particular session, was about how NEWNESS spawns MOMENTUM. At the time, I thought it was a pretty good talk and all. I mean I enjoyed how he communicated and I left with feeling like I learned something that could be applied at our church plant. Now years later, I came across the same talk on YouTube and let me tell you… it kind of blew my mind. First off, I’m a business owner of 5 years now. So, this message, although he was speaking mainly to church leaders, had a ton of validity and was very applicable to my own business.

MOMENTUM has many synonyms. Energy, Force, Power, Strength, Thrust, Speed, Velocity just to name a few. Not only are most of these positive words, but Andy gives momentum this  definition: “Forward motion fueled by a series of wins.” I really love that.

So, how do we get started into this “series of wins?” In the area of business, it may sound simple but create something NEW. Andy goes on to say, “Momentum is never triggered by tweaking something old, it’s triggered by introducing something new. New, Improved, Improving (He states throughout his message) BUT It must be a noticeable improvement over the old.” He states, “New does not guarantee sustained momentum but it is essential to trigger it.”

Have you ever noticed why so many brands create new products and packaging with “New Formula” or “New and improved ___” on it. It’s great marketing that gets the consumer to try their new product(s). They want you to know “We’ve been working on it to make it better!” or “We’re so committed to making sure that you will keep coming back to buy our products, we are every once in a while going to add products or change it up and make it better.”

So what’s the point? The point is, if your organization is lacking momentum and you can’t figure out why, do something NEW and DRASTICALLY different. Even if it’s you going away for a while and being a little silent and then reintroducing yourself to the world as better or newer…do it! What do you have to lose?….except your momentum!

Budget Busting

Do you have a hard time getting a budget from potential clients? It just might be the most frustrating part of business no matter what industry you work in. Let me give you an example of a typical “prospect” phone call:

Caller: “Hi! We’ve got a brand new product we want to bring to the market place and we need all sorts of marketing to get this thing off the ground!”

You: “Great! What are your needs?”

Caller: “Well, first we need to get some branding done with a logo. Then we need to create the packaging for the product. We’ll definitely need to get some product photography taken for the website and collateral pieces. OH! And we’d love to shoot a video for the launch of the product! Can you help?!”

You: “ Of course we can! What kind of budget do you have?”

Silence for a few seconds.

Caller: “Well…We’re not sure at this point. We don’t want to break the bank because we’re just starting out, but we have some funding. Can you send us a quote?”

You: “Sure thing. I’ll get you one by the end of the day.”

Caller: “Great thanks! I look forward to it!”

You send quote as promised and 5 days go by and you haven’t heard back. So you email or call the Prospect. 

You: “Hey there Mr. Prospect, I just wanted to reach out because I haven’t heard from you since I sent you the quote.”

Caller: “Yeah, that was a lot more than we wanted to spend, but thanks anyways!”

Click…

Ouch. You’ve just spent probably a couple of hours of time, that you’ll never get back – talking on the phone doing “discovery”, and then budgeting… for nothing. Why? All because the prospect wouldn’t give you a number they were comfortable being in. Let me just say, IT SHOULDN’T BE THIS WAY. Time is way too precious! So let me offer a quick piece of advice that someone once gave me that they called “Budget Busting.”

Let’s have a “redo” of the previous fake call. 🙂

Caller: “Hi! We’ve got a brand new product we want to bring to the market place and we need all sorts of marketing to get this thing off the ground!”

You: “Great! What are your needs?”

Caller: “Well, first we need to get some branding with a logo. Then create the packaging for the product. We’ll definitely need to get some product photography taken for the website and collateral. OH! And we’d love to shoot a video for the launch of the product! Can you help?!”

You: “ Of course we can! What kind of budget did you have in mind? Because there’s all sorts of very cool things we can do to get you to your goals.”

Caller: “Oh really? Well, we’re really not sure, but we have some financial backing.”

You: “Ok, so are you thinking like a couple of hundred thousand dollars, because we could really go BIG with a budget like that.”

Caller: “Oh gosh no!”

You: “Haha…Just kidding! No, seriously is it around $100,000, because we’ve done some pretty outstanding product launches for this budget range.”

Caller: “No that’s way too much”

You: “Oh ok, are you more around $50-75,000 range? This is still a very good budget for a project like yours…

Caller: (interrupts) “We’re thinking around $30,000 for the whole thing.

Ding, Ding!

You: “Ok, great! Now let me tell you what amazing things we can do for you with that budget.”

Do you get it? Everyone has a budget in mind. No matter what they say. 

*Also, if there’s a particular service you sell like web design for example, tell them right off the bat “Our website’s start at $_____.00” That way you can filter out anyone that can’t afford your service(s). You don’t waste their time nor yours.

So, next time you’re trying to size up a potential client, follow this simple formula called “Budget Busting.” It may take some practice, but once you get it….you’ll get them!

Price Vs. Cost

How often have you based your decisions on the price of a product or service rather than the cost?  You may ask…“what’s the difference?” And believe it or not, there is a difference. The late great Zig Ziglar talked about this in one of his famous motivational speeches to a group of fellow salesmen. He asked his prospect…“Mr. Brown are you basing your decision on the price of the product or the cost?” I’m sure you can guess what the prospect asked -“Well, what is the difference?” Zig goes into giving an example of when he went to buy his 6-year-old son a new bicycle.

They first went to the Schwinn bike store where they priced out a bike for $64.95 (a lot of money in those days for a bike). Then he went down to the discount store and priced a bike at $34.95. Now, you can clearly see the difference in price right away. So, they ended up buying the cheaper bike from the discount store. But 60 days later they had to go back to the discount store because he needed new handlebars – which was ok because it was still under warranty. Then 30 days later they had to replace them again and they were no longer under warranty. So it cost him $4.50 – so now the bike costs $39.45. Well, three months later the sprockets and brakes went out and they had to replace those parts and they went back to the store and paid $15.00. Now, he’s got $54.45 (plus gas and time) invested in that bicycle. A month after that, the bearings in the front wheel went “kazzip” (says Zig) and the discount store told him it would be about $5 to replace it. At that point Zig said, “I threw in the towel and said no way.”

So what did Zig do? He went back to the Schwinn store, bought the original bike they looked at for $64.95 and his son rode that bike for the next 10 years.  All they had to do was periodically raise the handlebars and replace the tires once. So what…right?

Well, let’s break it down. For 6 months the discounted bike cost them $54.95 or $9.00 per month for him to ride that bicycle. On the other hand, after 10 years the $64.95 Schwinn cost him $6.50 a year!

Now I get it. Do you? Price vs Cost.

I’ll go ahead and say it – I’m definitely an emotional buyer. Heck, most of us are. But sometimes we have to think about the cost of something over the price tag. We’ve been conditioned to believe what we see, and doubt what we hear. So look at the over all investment – see it and hear it.   Whether it’s reinvesting in a new website for your company or producing a branded video, I wouldn’t recommend ever going with a company based solely on price. Remember there’s a reason why some things cost more or why a business may charge a certain rate for their services. Look at their product/service and then their success rate. Look at their reviews and testimonials from those who have used the services.  It’s important, and in the end could save you time (which is so valuable), and of course, money.

 

Never say “Cheeeese”

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t take much to take a photo. However, on many occasions when handing a camera to someone to snap a photo of me and the family, I get this puzzled look like “What is this strange contraption?” Or “What do I press?” Not to be sarcastic, IT’S ALWAYS THE BIG BUTTON! Sorry just had to get that off my chest.

The purpose of this article is to talk about what makes some profile photos spectacular and others not so spectacular.

What makes the right shot?

Some folks say it’s all about the equipment. With an expensive camera that has tons of megapixels and the right lighting setup, you can produce a great photograph, right? I agree that with the right “tools” you can accomplish a number of things..but I beg to differ on this subject. I mean, today’s mobile phones most likely has the potential to be a pretty great resource to capture some stellar photography. So I don’t want to focus too much on the equipment which  takes us back to my question – what makes the right shot? Let me ask you something, what makes a Picasso, a Picasso? The paintbrush or the painter?

I believe the secret to great photography is the human eye and the direction of the photographer.

So, let’s talk about headshots for a moment. Headshots are something we do, so I feel comfortable talking about them. Headshots serve a purpose. They should capture the “true being” of that particular Human Being. When I see headshots (or professional profile pics) especially on LinkedIn, they are very flat (no dimension) and most of the time, they don’t feel natural.  A good photographer discovers the right angle and expression of the subject that mirrors who they really are at their best. Peter Hurley, a well sought after headshot photographer charges $1100.00 for a headshot. “Wow!” you might say. “That sounds like a lot of money.” But he knows that one great headshot can help get people the work that they want. He had an aspiring actress get six call backs in one week! I’d say that’s worth $1100.

Obviously headshots are only one area of photography, but anytime you’re dealing with people you have to be good at directing them. For me, I feel that being good at conversation is key. Getting folks to relax and to just be themselves makes for THE BEST photos. It could be a laugh, a surprised look, a questionable look, the slightest smirk, or even the right crop that turns someone’s photo into a spectacular photo which could lead them to the job of their dreams.

Remember a majority of what you are paying for is the artistry of the photographer. Here’s 5 quick suggestions when hiring a photographer:

1. Check References – Word of mouth is just as important when you are hiring for business as it is when you’re trying to get business.

2. Compare Portfolios – Look around at different work and don’t just get set on one person.

3. Match Your Photographer’s Expertise with Your Product – Remember some are experts at food, some headshots, and others could specialize in fashion or commercial.

4. Don’t just look at price – You may spend more by trying to save money and going with an amateur.

5. Work with someone flexible – Sometimes things don’t work out as planned so you need a photographer that can be creative and think on the fly!

Now you’re ready for your polished, profile photo! And remember whatever you do never say “Cheeeese…”

Content Marketing

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

The Content Marketing Institute defines Content marketing as the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. This greatly differs from conventional “interruption marketing” where advertising interrupts the audiences viewing or reading experience.

Atlanta Idea Studio can work with you on a content marketing strategy and plan, as well as assist with carrying out the content creation. Get in touch with us to find out more. But have no worries, we’re very gentle when we bite.

Judge not but realize you’re being judged.

Brand judgement

 

How do you want your brand to be perceived?

I recently changed my glasses from a nearly invisible silhouette frame to a more noticeable black frame. My prescription had changed and I was ready for a change as well. When I walked down my make believe runway at residence to model them for my friends, I received such comments as “you look so smart” and “now you look studious”. It made me wonder how I “looked” before.

It got me thinking. How are our appearances and more importantly our actions causing others to think of us, even before knowing us?

As I go about my life and experience what I call “growth”, I will let my attitude, new found knowledge and understanding factor into how I’m judged. I encourage you to have the same approach when it comes to how your brand is perceived.

Ready for a new look?

We all grew up being told “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” But let’s be honest…everybody does. I’ll be the first to tell you whether I’m looking at a book cover, wine label, or protein shake bottle, my eye tends to go towards the things that are original and exciting which then makes my brain say “Why don’t you give that a try!” Nothing could be truer when it comes to your company’s brand. If you think I’m wrong, stop yourself next time you’re buying something new and ask yourself, “Why am I going with this brand and not that one?” You may be surprised.

When it comes to your company’s identity, your brand (or in this case I should say your “Mark”) should have the same effect on people. The logo/mark might just be a part of the brand BUT it’s a HUGE part. Maybe you’re saying to yourself “That kind of thing doesn’t matter, because we get the job done and our clients are happy!” This could be true, however think about all the new customers or clients you could be missing out on because as soon as they go to your website they think “Did I just travel back to 1995?” People want to work with people they like, but also people that seem current with the trends. Co-founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Whoa. So, how do you feel about your brand now? If your brand is strong, then great! Stick with your guns – especially with the customer experience part of the brand. But as we all get older…we age whether we like it or not. Same goes with your logo.

So, is the face of your brand old and outdated? Do you think it’s time for a facelift? If you’re interested in knowing how to get started with giving your logo a new look, connect with me via email at todd@atlantaideastudio.com and I’ll be glad to show you our process of renewing your brand with a fresh new face. Remember newness spawns momentum, and that might be just the right ingredient to get those people in the room excited about working with you!

Always Be Testing

split testing

A component of your business that is often overlooked is optimization. Just what is optimization? I think of it as part marketing, part design and part science. Typically, we use our first best guess to create. This goes for webpages, infographics, videos, product packaging – the list goes on. Our first best guess is based upon the due diligence that is conducted during the preproduction period of our projects. This may involve elements from a situational awareness profile, client surveys, cold hard data as well as our gumption.

Once a project has been launched we immediately begin compiling data. This can be measured through various analytics software, customer comments, and of course performance. A mistake that is made all too often is stopping here. We work to educate our clients about this being the beginning, not the end.

By testing various elements and monitoring performance, then making appropriate modifications based upon data, we are successfully split testing. Split testing can be a powerful mechanism to increase leads,sales and the overall effectiveness of your communication.

If you’d be interested in learning more about improving any of your digital assets, we’d be glad to discuss. Operators are standing by…unless they’re sleeping.