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Archive for the ‘Image’ Category

The Competition

In Image, Marketing, networking, Personal Branding, Personal Development, Sales on June 22, 2017 at 11:00 am

You know them well. It’s that company that offers the same products and services that you do. The athlete wearing the other team’s colors. Yourself. 

Whoever you have identified as the competition, flip the script. Think of yourself as your competitor’s competition.

Are you the type of company, athlete, or person that the competitor looks at and says, “they’re easy they do ‘xyz’ we can overcome that”. Or are you the type of competitor that they do not mind losing to. 

Over the years, I have had several competitors in business and in athletic arenas. A few stick out in my mind. You knew when you were up against them that you had to bring your “A-Game”. But the ones that truly stand out are just good people to their core. When you lose to them, you say, “I get it, people like them”. It reminds me of that scene in Firgetting Sarah Marshall when Jason Segal’s character is surfing and bumps into Aldos Snow, his ex-girlfriend’s current lover and says, “…you’re so cool. I can see why Sarah likes you”. 

I long to be that competitor to my competition. I like when I run into a competitor and they have “heard of me”. I like when my competition is “job searching” on my behalf because they know the impact and the relationships I have and the ones that I foster. It means I’m doing something right. I’m competing without malice. Doing my job serving others. Not going down the path so commonly traveled by others which is to trash the competition. 

My challenge to you is be that competitor that takes the high road. Be the competition that your competition wants to introduce themselves to. Be that competitor that others talk about in a positive light. Be that competitor that the competition does not mind losing to. 

Business PEDs

In Generosity, Image, Marketing, Personal Development, Sales on July 23, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Performance Enhancing Drugs. Chances are, if you follow sports you have heard of PEDs. More and more athletes are turning up positive for their use as tests are becoming more advanced. 

While I do not condone the use of PEDs by athletes, I understand the temptation. These athletes have to ensure that they keep their job and their job is dependent upon their performance. And let’s face it, as we age, we do not exactly recover the way we did when we were in out teens and 20s.

As an entrepreneur there is no magic pill or injection that will make us better at our job. If there was, would you take it?

This got me to thinking today: maybe generosity and gratitude are indeed the PEDs of entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs that I know that give the most (either financially or of their time) seem to be the ones that are the most successful. Maybe generosity and gratitude ARE indeed business PEDs.

So the question stands, would you take them?

Failure Casts A Long Shadow

In Image on December 13, 2011 at 10:39 am

I heard the title of this post on a podcast the other day. It was so profound. Before I give up the source of the quote, hear me out. The quote in full reads: “Failure casts a long shadow, but the minute you begin to fear that failure you’re done.”

We are trained to fear failure from an early age. Failures are foolish. Failures are different. Failures don’t get it. Failures don’t fit in. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Fitting in? If you really consider your fear of failing I’m willing to bet that it is not a fear of failure at all. It’s a fear of failing to fit in.

A Hall of Fame baseball player will fail at batting seventy percent of the time. Advertising fails at converting prospects into customers ninety-six percent of the time if not more. We tend to magnify our own failures more so than others do. And that magnification is what makes us freeze up and do nothing.

A bit of honesty from me: I still have a bit of the fear too. But I’m working on it. My challenge to you is the same one that I am involved in. Question your fears. What is your fear? Failing at what? What are the consequences of that failure? Instead of saying “failure is not an option” start saying “fear of failure is not an option”. Take that first step. They say (I love quotes from they, their credibility is impeccable) the first step is the hardest.

As for the source of the quote: my favorite comedian Jay Mohr; taken from his podcast Mohr Stories. Comedians are a different breed. I’m guessing they know a thing or two about the fear of failure. After all, they walk the last ten feet. That ten feet from backstage to the microphone and then bear their souls for the audience every night. What if they get heckled? What if they are not funny? They still walk the last ten feet and make it happen.

What are you afraid of? Failure? Or Failure to fit in?

Thank You Mr. Jobs

In Image, News on October 6, 2011 at 12:28 am

I have a confession: I used to hate Macs. When I was in college that is all they had in the libraries to type your papers. Keep in mind this was just before the dot-com boom. In fact, you could take a course to learn how to search the Internet.

Fast forward just three years and I hear if the iPod for the first time. A doctor friend of mine had his entire music collection on a 40G iPod. And the sound quality, “forget about it”. I had to have one. I became obsessed. Two months later I opened a Christmas present from my wife…a first generation 10G iPod. I took it everywhere. No more burning CDs to make long road trips bearable. Airline flights became nightclub-like.

In 2007, I saw the first iPhone. No way. It’s actual real Internet pages. Once again I became obsessed. The only problem was, now I had a BlackBerry. I lived BlackBerry. I had one of the original Motorola two-way pagers so the keyboard was right up my alley. I was even using the HP iPaq before most. For some reason I became content to stick with the BlackBerry.

Two years later, my wife got an iPhone 3G. I admit I was jealous, but still could not part ways. I did not like the spring board for typing. Then my oldest daughter list her mobile phone and iPod touch privileges for about three months and I discovered the world I had been missing. All the apps. My email. The web…real Internet pages. And Twitter, can’t forget Twitter.

I cashed in the BlackBerry for an iPhone 3GS. Ad I sit here typing out thus blog post, I’m doing it from…you guessed it, my iPhone. This thing has changed my world. It has changed my perception of Apple and Macs. After using the iPhone, I realized that my next desktop computer had to be a Mac. Two months ago, I did it…I purchased a brand new iMac. Holy Cow it is amazing. Just because a visionary made it possible to sir all 350 of my CDs on a tiny music player.

For the record, my household owns 4 iPod Touches (3 now, one got stolen), two iPod Nanos, an iPhone 3, two iPhone 3GS, an iMac, an 80G iPod Classic, and the one that started it all. The original 10G iPod.

Mr. Jobs thank you. You’ve made the world realize that tech and art can coexist. You’ve changed the world of not only art, and tech, but that if business, marketing, production, etc.

You will be missed by many.

IMAGINE Marketing Part 1 of 7–Image

In Image, Marketing on January 25, 2011 at 6:04 am

In the late 80s, a brash young tennis sensation burst onto the scene with his aggressive play, and striking looks. Clad in Neon Green and Grey shorts with the shirt and shoes to match; this mulleted (is that a word) tennis sensation became the “rebel” of tennis. Up until that point, tennis players wore solid white from head to toe. Canon immediately signed Andre Agassi as their spokesman for the Rebel EOS 35mm camera with the tag line: “Image is Everything.” Fast forward 20 years: Andre Agassi informs the world that the hair, the image, and other things about him were a facade. Shocking the world with his story about his battles with addiction, baldness, and his hatred of the game of tennis.

A true image is a hard thing to portray in this day and age. And to top it off, that image is no longer solely controlled by us. Maybe it never was.

So what is image? For companies, it is the perception the general public has of your company. In a time when social media is so prevalent, that image is created by companies, but it is often verified or refuted by the public.

So how does a company create its image? This may come as a surprise (although it really shouldn’t considering it is true of individuals as well) but here goes: BE YOURSELF. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. With respect. That’s a good starting point anyways. Image is the belief that someone has about you/your company based on their experiences. These beliefs lead to actions (or inactions) that produce results (I’m not sure who to credit for that. I learned about this while working with Pfizer–The BEAR Model). You can go on TV and tell people you deliver pizzas in 30 minutes all you want, but if you are consistently arriving in 35 minutes, that is your true image.

Your image will also vary from person-to-person. You can ensure a more consistent image by providing quality products and services that you stand behind 100%. Having a positive attitude towards your customers and employees. Providing excellent customer service. The list goes on. From value to values, so many things can make or break your image. Still you must remember that your image is be perceived differently by individuals based on their experiences with you, your company, or even your industry (think about politicians, attorneys, salespeople, etc.).

You can lend a helping hand to your image by connecting with your customers. Today more than ever, your image campaign should be a collaborative effort between your company and your customers. Some examples are working with charities (not just cutting a check) related to your industry, attending trade shows, attending networking events, and interacting on social media sites. Handle conflict promptly. Go out of your way to help a customer/prospect/stranger. If you are not sure what your image is, ask. Your loyal customers will tell you. Guess what? The customers who have fired you will tell you also.

What are you doing to boost your corporate image?

Regret

In Image on August 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Living with regret is a choice. Chances are, there is a large number of you living with regret. If not, you know someone who is. I was once asked by a high school football coch after a playoff run that left us one game shy of state if I had any regrets. I immediately answered “no.” Judging by the look on his face that that moment, I’m quite sure my answer shocked him. I simply chose to not have regret.

Dictionary.com gives this definition of “regret theory”: a theory that says people anticipate regret if they make a wrong choice, and take this anticipation into consideration when making decisions. Fear of regret can play a large role in dissuading or motivating someone to do something.

How do we get to the point of regret? A starting point is asking “what if”. Asking “what if” is fine as oong as you look at the positive and negative side of the equation. Too many people focus on the negative side of “what if” and decide to “not.” Fine if you are considering committing a crime, not so good if you are trying to make the world a better place. If they “not” they are not vulnerable, don’t fail, and as a result, cannot be ridiculed. Pretty easy, huh? Until regret sets in and you have to live with that feeling.

Then the “if onlys” start. You hear this all the time: if only I invented ‘xyz’. If only I finished school. If only I was thinner or made more money. If only I waited to have kids, get married, waited to buy a home, etc. etc. etc. You get the point.

Too often the “what ifs” turn into “if onlys” and then you have regret. Some regrets can be avoided by exploring the “what ifs” (see example of committing crime above), but the “if onlys” are the poison that turn into regret and a loss of confidence.

Instead of wasting time with regret, choose to live a life without regret. Sure you will stand out. People may think you’re crazy. People may not like you. People my ridicule you, and you will definitley fail at some point. But you will be happier for it, and your blessings will follow…if you choose to recognize them as such.

Guess what? you might even do something remarkable.

Everyone is a Marketer

In Image on July 30, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Does your company have a marketing department? Have you ever said, “if I was the marketer, I would do it differently?” I have long said that marketing is not just up to the marketing department. If you have any person-to-person contact with customers via telephone, email, in-person conversation, etc., then guess what?…you are marketing. Sure there is a department making decisions on the message that the company wants people to hear, but when it comes down to it, consumers hear the message that is given by the people they come into contact with. The cashier that smiles and thanks you for shopping with them. The janitor that keeps the bathroom clean. The person that greats you and ask if there is something that they can help you with. Maybe you work in a professional office. The person that answers the telephone is marketing. Believe it or not, when you are smiling on the phone, the person on the other end can hear it. That is marketing.

How is your marketing department doing? Are they welcoming the customer? Are they portraying the image that you envisioned for your company?

Image is Everything?

In Image on April 23, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Remember those old camera ads with a young Andre Agassi? The tagline was awesome…image is everything. The funny thing is, I have believed this for so long. This is something that I have thought a great deal about over the past few years. You hear people say things like “fake it until you make it.” Again, it comes back to image. When you have people trying to protray a certain image, you never quite know how to take someone, where you stand with that person, or if you can even trust them. The worst part of this is that when reallity does not match up with the “perceived image”, that opportunity is gone.

Today, while image and perception is still very important, image is nothing unless the image you portray is the image that is true to yourself. People are more skeptical than ever. If you want to build relationships fast, open up and let people know the real you. Some people may like it, others may not. But at least you know that they like the person you are, not the person you hope they think you are.