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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Fostering creativity

Posted by Vicki Moulton on April 6, 2011

It’s always fun to find a blog that imparts wisdom. Today I found out about a great blog from a company called Talent Grow

For many of my colleagues, the idea of fostering creativity is something completely natural. For some of my clients, it’s completely alien.

One of the Talent Grow blog posts hit home for me today, and I’d like to share. Here is an excerpt from a January 2011 post called “Creativity is for Everyone“:

What can everyday, ordinary people do to become more creative?

  1. Exposure to creativity begets more creativity. The more people are surrounded by or allowed to witness creative thinking, creative ideas, and creative problem-solving, the more likely they will be to model that kind of divergent thinking.
  2. Positive emotions and lowered risk-aversion increase creativity. The more positive and uninhibited they are, the more likely people will be to think more creatively. If they feel like they have to act very seriously and be perfect and error-proof, the less likely they will be to take risks or let down their guard. Their creative thinking will be stifled as a result.
  3. Take yourself outside of your comfort zone. Being in a new and different environment, or using things in ways they weren’t meant to be used, can help creative break-through thinking and spark new ideas.

Posted in communications, MarComm | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Humanizing your brand

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 22, 2011

Borrowing an idea from a Mashable article I just read about preventing “badvocacy” (which is a new way of describing how certain unhappy campers can badmouth your business through social media channels), I’m thinking today about how brands can and have become completely dehumanized.

It’s easy to think of a huge corporation with a well-known brand as having no soul, as though everything were completely automated and run by robots. When something goes wrong with that company’s product or service, it’s easy to get angry at the machine. It’s not personal; it’s business. (Hey, didn’t Tom Hanks’ cutthroat bookseller character say that in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail”?)

So what happens when it’s your small business that draws the ire of an unhappy customer? And then, when that unhappy customer goes on Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter to complain about your company, how are you supposed to react? It certainly feels personal when you’re the only person behind your brand, like someone is mad at you–not your company, but you personally. It’s really hard to combat a growing chorus of online negativity if you don’t already have a personal association with your brand.

Now think about the positive side. If your business succeeds in making a customer happy enough that she wants to help other customers find out about you by singing your praises on Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter, does that feel like personal praise for you as a person or like good publicity for your brand? Any kind of feedback in this fast-paced online world reflects instantly on your brand, positive or negative. And that also reflects on you, the person behind the brand.

If you want to help your customers feel like they’re either shaking your hand in thanks or slapping your face in anger, put a human face on your brand. Post your photo on your About page, and use it as your avatar when commenting on posts and websites. It’s much harder for the viral feedback machine to go completely negative and out of control if your brand image is personal, warm, smiling, and human–just like everyone else.

Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blurring the lines

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 12, 2011

Well hello there! Remember me? No? Well, I can’t blame you for that. It’s not like I’ve been using this bully pulpit regularly.

I’m the first to admit that I’ve neglected this blog over the past several months. Part of my excuse is situational–moving from one coast to the other, getting through a second pregnancy while keeping my business going and making sure my toddler didn’t get into trouble, then having the baby just before Thanksgiving–and part of it is attitudinal, meaning most days I just didn’t put blogging at the top of my priority list.

Now that the baby is giving me longer stretches of sleep at night, I’m starting to see a third reason why I didn’t keep blogging here in 2010: the lines between business and personal have blurred to the point where posting something on Facebook feels kind of like blogging. But that’s a big lie because short, pithy little FB posts are absolutely no match for original thoughts and essays carefully written and purposefully shared on a business blog with a specific goal for a particular audience.

Case in point: I met my fabulously talented logo designer, Jenny Decker, through an online communications networking group. We completed a barter arrangement, meeting once in person, and then kept in touch via email. Then we became “friends” on Facebook, learning more about each other’s personal lives through postings and photos, and comparing notes on parenting babies and toddlers. Then I asked Jenny to join a small women’s entrepreneur group, further blurring the lines between our separate businesses and our personal lives. After that, she recommended me to one of her clients, who then hired me, and pretty soon I was reading her family blog and asking what she remembered about the last months of pregnancy while sharing my own toddler-raising advice and inviting her to read my birthing story on a personal blog after calling to ask how she invoiced a particular type of client.

So is this a personal friendship or a friendly business connection? The answer is both, and it’s the inevitable merging of these worlds that has so many businesses falling behind because they don’t know how to leverage these relationship-savvy social media tools.

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I would someday have business colleagues in my social media network and actually develop real friendships using tools like Facebook, I would’ve said hell no. In fact, I actively avoided revealing my location, profession, and everything else about myself online in any capacity for many years. (I’m still unlisted in the local phone book–but that’s another story.) But I’m noticing that the people who steer clear of social networks are the ones who aren’t connected in any meaningful way to what’s happening in the business world today.

Yes, social media can be all about personal branding and marketing, especially if you’re using these tools to get more business. But it’s also about knowing where your audience, customers, potential employers, and colleagues (past and present) are spending their time and energy.

Dropping by the social media water cooler once in a while is good for your reputation and keeps you in the loop, at least for as long as those folks are sipping water. It reminds them that you’re still there, still interested, still part of the team.

Whether these people knew you way back when or just met you last week at a networking event, they’re all part of your ever-widening circle–what some might call your sphere of influence. It’s actually smart to keep these folks informed about your activities. Just try to keep the truly personal information (the embarassing stuff you wouldn’t want publicized on the evening news) off Facebook, or else your sphere will shrink before you know it.

So, in the effort to win back some blog readers in this new year, I invite you to visit my Facebook fan page and follow my posts (Twitter account to be revived soon) as I share my thoughts and experiences with clients, colleagues, and friends. We’re all merged into one group now, so let’s have some fun while we’re at it!

Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Moving west

Posted by Vicki Moulton on August 5, 2010

Hey, still here… Just on the other side of the country. And P.S.: the weather is great!

It’s official: Movick Marketing has moved to the west coast! The family made the move to Oakland, California, and so did the business.

Here is the new office number: 510.530.1580. The blog, Facebook fan page, and Twitter feed have been on summer vacation while we’ve been completing the move and getting set up in the new location. Look for increased activity this month… and continue to keep us in mind for all your marketing communications projects!

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Posted in communications, MarComm, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Attracting the ideal

Posted by Vicki Moulton on April 1, 2010

If you’re having the kind of year I’m having so far, then you’ve probably been struggling a bit trying to find the right kind of client for your business. You know, the kind that appreciates what you have to offer, wants to work with you right away, and remains loyal for the long term. In other words, the absolute ideal.

I found this article by Angie Segal of Action Coach very inspiring. It’s reprinted here (in edited form) with permission.

“What Kinds of Customers Are You Attracting?”

How do you get the customers you want and deserve? Are you randomly stabbing at the marketplace, or do you have a plan for getting the type of customer you want to work with?

Here are some tips for planning to attract the ideal client:

First, decide who your ideal client is and write it down. What size are they? Where do they operate? What do they look like?

Next, describe this ideal client to everyone in your sphere of influence. Communicate this clearly. Then ask your partners and alliances to describe your ideal client. How they answer this question will tell you whether you’ve been specific enough.

Find out where you can interact with people who fit your description of the ideal client and attend those functions.

Finally, look at yourself and make sure you present yourself in a fashion that would attract those people. In other words, dress for the job you want.

Clarity is a key element in finding your ideal clients. Once you are clear on whom you are trying to meet, and your actions are in line with that, it’s easy to find your ideal!

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pushing past paralysis

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 17, 2010

Ever have one of those days that just feels “off,” right from the moment you open your eyes in the morning?

I had one of those days yesterday. And even though I’m aware that some of the folks I met at a networking event last night might be reading this today, I just have to be honest: I wasn’t in my usual rah-rah-let’s-go mode. In fact, I almost didn’t show up.

It would’ve been so easy to just stay home, avoiding the crowds, the hand-shaking, the quick room-scanning, the u-turns to avoid running into certain people. But I knew I’d regret that decision eventually. I also knew that this was an opportunity I could not afford to pass up, even if I was in the wrong state of mind to begin with.

As a small business owner, I’m particularly susceptible to feeling overwhelmed with a long to-do list and crossing stuff off just to give myself a break. There are no staffers to send to networking events on Movick Marketing’s behalf. I am my company’s chief ambassador. I can either accept that responsibility, and all the gripping-and-grinning that goes with it, or I can go take a nap and let my company drift away.

Pushing past that feeling of near-paralysis–getting yourself out there, keeping your commitments, honing that elevator speech–is critical to keeping the momentum going, especially for small businesses just getting started with word-of-mouth marketing. It’s never okay to give up just because you’re not in the mood.

After about 45 minutes at the networking event, I woke up and started to get into the spirit of things. By hour 3, I met some really interesting people, gathered some promising business leads, and wondered why I’d ever felt like staying home.

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Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shameless self-promoting

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 11, 2010

I’ve been snowed in for several days, and fortunately it’s resulted in a lot of productivity for my business. So, in the interest of tooting my own horn (after all, that’s what blogs are for), here’s the latest news from Movick Marketing:

**********************************

…Created a new page on the website–Featured Biz–listing and linking all woman-owned local “biz of the day” daily shout-outs from Twitter

…Added new social media package: Ghost-Blogging Special, for those folks who are ready to admit they need a little help writing a blog (you know who you are!)

…Got a whole bunch of new Facebook fans–enough to finally get that vanity URL! Now located at facebook.com/MovickMarketing

…Inserted AddThis sharing button on all pages and into most blog posts

…Now advertising social media marketing packages on three different websites: Market Mommies, Melissa Meman Designs, and Melissa’s blog

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Justifying your price

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 3, 2010

I came upon Mikelann Valterra’s Savvy Women Earning blog in a kind of roundabout way this evening, and after looking at her recent posts, I found one about pricing and couldn’t stop saying, “That’s so true!”

Here’s a little taste:

So when you tell prospects what you charge and the type of results they may gain from your work, this is not about justifying your price. You are helping them make an educated decision. You are looking for a win-win.

If you’ve ever hesitated before setting a price for your services or products, you absolutely MUST read this article: How can I justify my price? 

After that, you can join me in becoming her follower on Twitter. This woman is definitely onto something.

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Posted in communications, freelance, marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Walking the talk

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 30, 2010

After spending the past couple of months crafting some quick-and-easy social media marketing solutions for clients (and prospective clients), I finally decided to start using my Twitter account. 

Yes folks, it’s true: you can find me on Twitter @movickmarketing! I figure it’ll be much easier for me to convince my clients that Twitter can help with business promotion if I actually use it myself.

Yesterday I placed an ad at marketmommies.com for the social media marketing packages–in partnership with Fern Carbonell of Exemplus Virtual Assistant Services (tweeting @Exemplus_Fern)–which I’m cross-promoting through my Facebook fan page and Twitter, and on this website… look at the top of the left rail!

It feels like something great is right around the corner. Maybe it’s just as simple as finally taking my own advice.

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Risking growth

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 27, 2010

“What would it look like as a newspaper headline?”

This was one of the thought-provoking questions posed during a presentation I attended last week on strategic partnerships. When you imagine your company’s name in a headline, is it announcing an exciting new development… or a disastrous scandal?

The presentation focused on how to choose the right partner, what can be gained, when to say yes, and what to watch out for. Doing your homework before making such a big decision as forming a strategic partnership means researching everything about the other company so that there would be no surprises, such as the hypothetical newspaper headline revealing an unsavory skeleton in the new partner’s closet, right as your strategic partnership is announced.

Scary stuff, right?

Taking a risk–opening the door to new possibilities–can mean staring down your greatest fears of failure. What if I lose money on the deal? What if my new partner doesn’t live up to her end of the bargain? What if my company’s reputation is hurt by this association? All of those questions are valid. But so is the flip side of that argument. What if this partnership could bring me new clients? What if my business flourishes? What if my company grows so much that I need to hire an assistant to handle the extra work?

Risk and reward are two sides of the same coin. You can’t expect your business to grow without taking at least some kind of risk. Putting your company name out in public, marketing your services online, shaking hands at a networking event during flu season: all of these things involve risk. If you let your fear of risk dictate your business philosophy, you’ll never get anywhere.

When planning to start something new, you should always do your homework and be aware of all the risks. But remember to follow your instincts and balance the potential for failure with the potential for growth. As I’m learning with an exciting new strategic partnership between Movick Marketing and Exemplus Virtual Business Services, great things can happen when you open yourself up to new possibilities!

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Posted in communications, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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