Archive for April, 2009

Branding & Re-Branding

April 15th, 2009

Last month I wrote about taking advantage of changes and economic turbulence as an opportunity to further entrench with your client base. I promised to share with you specifics including ways that my business is currently changing.

Here’s the low down on what I’m doing right now. Over the past several years I’ve really enjoyed sharing what I’ve done in my production company. We’ve experienced incredible success writing, producing, and delivering school assembly programs and motivational reading programs to schools and public libraries all over Texas.

I’ve hired several qualified presenters who now work for me and we stay very busy serving our little part of Texas.

I’ve also taught our system to several performers who are replicating similar success in their parts of the country and it is really satisfying to see that growth.

So, while I continue to manage the production company I have also grown the side of my business that relates to speaking and providing information to business owners. From the annual workshops I held each January for the past several years, to the various events around the country where I have been invited to speak. I really enjoy seeing the powerful effect that these sorts of events can have on people. I know that I’ve been to many events that have changed my life and it is exciting to be able to be a part of these events from the other side of the stage.

So, two things I want to share in this entry and then I’ll wrap up:

1) Branding yourself can be a very powerful tool. It is important and powerful part of marketing. It is also a very interesting process to have to re-define your brand. But I can tell you that it is easier to re-define your brand than to create one from scratch.

It was much easier for VanHalen to become “Van Hagar” (for better or worse) than it was for them to establish the initial name recognition. As “Julian Franklin Productions” becomes “Library Rat” it has been a surprisingly smooth transition.

2) If you’ve never seen or heard me speak before, here’s a short (3 minute) video clip of a part of a keynote I gave in early March, 2009.

Branding, Marketing

Success is Inconvenient

April 7th, 2009

Driving to the gym every morning is inconvenient. It’s a hassle to get up at 4:30 and go run in the cold. Even writing this blog entry takes up time that I could be spending watching Ellen or reading a book. I’ve got a mastermind meeting tomorrow afternoon and want to connect sometime today with my mentor (Karen McCullough, CSP – Branding, Generations in the Workforce) as well as Mike ThreeSixty Svat, THE Branding Guru in Texas. I don’t know how I’m going to manage all this as I still have a long list of things I need to do in MY office. To make matters worse, these meetings are inconvenient because I have to drive across town and often have to do so in coordination with other people’s schedules.

But I’ve found that much of success is inconvenient, and I think that’s why so few people attain all their goals.

We want success, as long as it doesn’t interfere with our television schedule or require us to get up too early in the morning, or stay up too late in the evening; as long as it doesn’t require exceptional effort or long distance phone calls. Success would be just fine, thank you very much, if you can deliver it to me next Wednesday after 2 pm, but please don’t ask me to go out and pick it up myself. I want success, but I don’t think I want it THAT much.

I think that the way the economy is right now, the ground is shaking. There are people who have skated by on half-effort while collecting full pay. Personally I’m glad the ground is shaking. I’m looking forward to the disruption, though I wish it didn’t have to be so painful. The future is bright for those who are hungry for opportunity. Right now is a great time to proactively seek out opportunity.

Just be warned that it will probably be at least a little bit inconvenient.

Down Economy, Success

How the Economy Creates Competitive Advantage

April 4th, 2009

When money gets tight people don’t just “spend less”, they become more cognizant of the value they are getting from the money they spend. In fact, as the economy worsens I find myself spending MORE money than I have in the past because I am finding lots of value as prices fall.

Interestingly, I am also finding that when money gets tight, there are a few businesses that will actually grow and profit from this turmoil. 2008 was a down year for all four of my companies, but 2009 is already setting new records of growth for us and I think a big part of it is what Seth Godin describes in his book The Dip (also available in audio format).

The premise I’m referring to is the fact that as one competitor establishes themselves in the marketplace, if they are able to establish a strong competitive advantage they create a sort of gap (what Godin refers to as “the dip”) between them and their other competitors. The wider and deeper this gap becomes the stronger the competitive advantage.

When the money gets tight people don’t stop spending, they just become better consumers. The result is that the poor providers fall to the wayside while the companies that provide superior products and offer impeccable service (like will see their business barely affected during a down economy and many companies will see their profits rise in the coming months.

Even better (for those on the right side of the dip anyway) is that as competitors crumble, even if your total revenues are down, your slice of the total pie is getting bigger and bigger. When we come out of this crises, and we will, then those who have weathered the storm will be a a near perfect position to reap huge rewards.

But, if you aren’t in the right place right now, fret not! It isn’t too late. Even though down economic trends comprise less than 20% of the time, fully 60% of the businesses that comprise the companies used to calculate the Dow Jones Industrial Average were all founded during economic down turns. Now is the time to strike out and make good decisions.

And don’t worry. This isn’t the last economic crisis we’ll face, either. There will be plenty more after this one.

Competitive Advantage, Down Economy