Too Much Copy

May 18, 2011

Holy cow.

I’ve been off the grid for too long. And as I flex my fingers for this new post, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good to be back.

A Caveat

This is another one of those times where I must ask you to please do what I say and not as I do.

The Truth

I just took a look at the last blog post, and although I felt there was a lot to say, it was WAY too much. Whew. Embarrassing how much copy is on there.

People are busy. They don’t want to sit around reading my blog all day long. It’s not that important.

As much as I’d love to flatter myself into thinking everyone is dying to read my latest post. It’s not about me. It’s about what you as a reader can glean from the blog, or brochure or website…

So Here It Is

Keep it short. Keep it simple. 1 to 2 sentences per paragraph, max.

Use a snappy title. Put in subheadings so your readers can scan for what they want. Use pictures. Big ones.

Make it fun—and conversational if you can. Be transparent. Be human for goodness sakes.

That’s it. And now, so I don’t get caught not taking another piece of my advice, it’s time to bid you goodbye for now.

I hope you are all doing well—and give me a shout if you have questions about anything.

Lauren

TEDxDU Recap

May 18, 2010

TEDxDU has been an amazing experience.  Many of the people I’ve spoken to said they will be telling people about our first TEDxDU for many years to come.  What a wonderful compliment to all who were involved.

The production team rocked the show- it was FABULOUS!  As with any live show, there were little glitches (we had some mic issues), but that was it.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

And from the tweets I’ve seen flying around, it seemed that, because of the variety of topics, there really was something of deep value for everyone to take away with them. Among the favorite speakers mentioned, there was:

  • Neal Foard, creative ad man from Saatchi & Saatchi New York, who is now referred to in the TEDxDU circle as “the duct tape guy,” because of the logo he created to celebrate the true heroes who are worthy of our reverence above movie stars, sports figures and rock stars- Engineers
  • Phil Tedeschi, who spoke on the incredible connection between people and their pets (Phil threw out some incredible statistics like: more children grow up with a pet in the home than a father; and loneliness, which can be as detrimental to our health as smoking and obesity, can often be overcome with the love of a pet)
  • Photographer and documentarian, Aaron Huey came to us with his raw images and heart breaking story of the Lakota people struggling to survive the aftermath of Wounded Knee 90 years later
  • Karambu Ringera, peace pro-activist, working to create and provide a sustainable model of education and enterprise that will empower the people of Kenya to become self-reliant and successful for generations to come
  • Our fabulous emcee, Hilary Blair who tied the whole show together with a generous helping of humor and grace was a crowd-pleasing favorite.
  • And there were so many other wonderful speakers who really had a lot of interesting things to say along the lines of our theme this year:  Issues.  Ideas.  Action. For the full list of speakers and their bios, please check out the tedxdu website.

I didn’t get to see most of the speakers (as it tends to happen when you’re running around trying to make things work)- but I’ll be excited to see the TEDxDU videos online by the end of this week!

More fun to follow, but I wanted to post some of my favorite shots from the event:

Phil Tedeschi’s dog, Samantha, stole the show!

Karambu Ringera moved the crowd to tears with her talk.

The finale gave me goosebumps with the Spirituals Project Choir, Art Jones, Arthur Bouton’s EWI Collaboration, Regan Linton, the Flobots and the audience all creating beautiful music together.

Photos taken by my good friend Wayne Armstrong.  Excellent shooting, Wayne!

Project Update: TEDxDU

April 28, 2010

Good evening all!  My apologies for slacking on the posts.  I am working with the University of Denver to put on TEDxDU, which is coming up on May 13th!

Everything is coming together beautifully, and hopefully some of you will even be able to attend.  Registration has already closed for the main event in Gates Theater, but there will be “watch parties” on campus with a live stream of all the fun.

The theme of the event this year is:  Issues.  Ideas.  Action.  And it’s all a part of some of the wonderful things the University is currently doing to showcase their passion for “DUing Something” to improve the human condition.

I feel so fortunate to be a part of this amazing and talented team putting this event together.

Stay tuned for updates on TEDxDU!

Lauren

We live in an age of information.  Our global culture can be accessed by social media sites, blogs and the like within a matter of moments.  Because of this, Brand Management must be timely for a couple of reasons:

  • one, a brand should be able to capitalize on opportunity and be relevant to your customers at any given time,
  • and two, sometimes, we have to do damage control.

In the article, Bringing Your Brand Back From the Brink from the UK magazine Marketing Week, the author gives several great examples of where multiple brands (like Domino’s Pizza, Toyota and Tiger Woods) have succeeded and failed with proper brand management.  The article talks about the necessity of  acting quickly, otherwise waiting even a week may send another message – that your company is not prepared.  And it’s not realistic to sit back and “hope for the best rather than plan for the worst.”

When I talk about being prepared, remember that I mean for both opportunity and for crisis.  At one time, “green” was a huge differentiator for a company- now it’s expected. Companies that are still bragging about being earth friendly at this point have missed the boat.  Keep in mind that whatever opportunities a brand manager links their brands to should be consistent with the brand attributes, the brand promises and pertinent to the customers’ values and desires.

With technology today and whether or not we are experiencing a brand-crisis, I believe our brands need to adopt a more humble, transparent approach to business and bring back that human element.  Isn’t it better to take responsibility for things we might not be so proud of, than to try and sweep it under the rug after we’ve already been caught?  I would personally much rather shake hands with someone who had made a mistake if I knew I could trust them to do the right thing afterward.

Being prepared, more than simply being reactive in a crisis, ultimately helps build trust and strengthen the perception of our brand(s).  For information on how you can manage your brand in a more timely manner, feel free to contact me.

Lauren Brenkle

LBrenkle@FlavorStrategies.com

Q: “Can’t I just differentiate my brand by being the least expensive?”

A: Although price can differentiate you from your competition, I wouldn’t recommend it as the only thing you use to attract and keep your customers.

Think about it from the perspective that “cheap” is not a good way to communicate value to your customers.

If things are always on sale or there is always a coupon, it automatically de-values the brand. Because who would pay full price if they didn’t have to? It sets an expectation and a stigma on your brand that you may not even realize.

The goal when determining how much to charge for your brand(s) is to offer them at a price point that your customers would be happy to pay because they see the value in it- whether that comes from the excellent customer service they receive, or the level of quality of the product itself.

If you don’t back up your brand with a great customer experience, there aren’t many customers who will put up with you over the long run, no matter how low your prices are.

Now, if your brand has a low price, high quality AND an excellent customer experience, that’s a triple threat that would put your competition right out of business.

Q: “How do I know who to trust with my brand?”

A: Choosing the right strategic partner to help you with the branding process is an important decision. It must feel right to you and your team because you’ll need to be able to work closely together over the course of several months and possibly longer.

It always helps if the strategic partner you choose is already familiar with your business, but that’s not always the biggest factor to consider. Do you like their past work? Do you get along?

Remember, it’s a relationship, and every brand is unique. Your brand should not come with a cookie-cutter strategy that works no matter whose logo is slapped on it.

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