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The New Professional Casual Portrait

ProfessionalCasualCorporatePortrait

 

Search Google for ”corporate portrait” and you’ll see an awful lot blue suits, ¼ angles, canvas backgrounds, and plastic smiles. It’s unfortunate, in our opinion, because the value of a photo is to let people see you, but so many of these portraits portray images that lack any humanity.

 

For most of us, it’s like our old school photos. Boys wear a white shirt and a tie with dark slacks, and girls where a white blouse and dark skirt. When it was your turn, they sat you on a “posing stool”, then proceeded to cock your head and chin at such severe angles it literally hurt. They assured us it looked great, and then six months later in the school yearbook we see the worst portraits of us ever taken!

 

Well times are changing. And we at Newman Grace are trying our best to lead the charge. We are on a mission to eliminate the “dead” portrait.

 

With many of our clients coming from the professional services sectors (law, accounting, and business advisors), we know that one of the most important marketing tasks is to “humanize” our clients. Some would argue that the average attorney does NOT have blood coursing through his or her veins, nor does their CPA have a personality. And while we chuckle at those stereotypes, as most stereotypes do, these come from some true experiences.

 

To combat this, we have developed a new style of portrait. We call it “professional casual”. In the same way “business casual” has redefined business apparel, we hope “professional casual” redefines corporate portraits.

 

Professional casual is characterized by a professional who looks smart (clothing-wise), well put together, but not stuffy. For men, this may mean a coat but no tie. It might mean a shirt and tie, but no coat. We’re in Los Angeles, so that means professionals working in entertainment may wear a t-shirt under a sport coat, or even a longsleeve shirt untucked.

 

For women, it can be almost anything except a business suit. A skirt and blouse, a dress and jacket, or slacks and a top. Colors are not only “okay”, they are encouraged.

 

Another trend is to use the environment more. Hallways, office balconies, windows, and lobbies make great settings for professional casual shots.

 

Among our rules are the following. First, the “look” needs to represent the person. How do they really look? People that never wear suits don’t photograph well in suits. Next, not “stuffy” setups. If someone is sitting at their desk, they CANNOT have their hands folded perfectly on the desk. Maybe they’re leaning back, maybe standing, maybe even sitting on the edge of the desk. And NO attorneys in front of book cases holding law books! And finally, alternative angles and lenses are okay. Show low looking up, wide angle, shallow depth of field, or in black and white.

 

The next time you are putting marketing materials together, or updating a website or brochure, consider a new take on portraits. I think you’ll like what you see!

Listen To Brian Hemsworth Talk Marketing On Stars of PR Radio

Rakowitz-show

Brian Hemsworth, marketing professional and author of this blog will be interviewed by Cindy Rakowitz Thursday on the Stars of PR radio show. They’ll be discussing Southern California Professional Magazine, marketing, and a whole bunch of related topics.

Cindy is the CEO of Blackman Rakowitz Public Relations, and is  a highly respected, award- winning executive with years of experience in crisis management, branding and marketing. Rakowitz contributes as an expert analyst to several news organizations. She is the co-author of the new book Emergency Public Relations, Crisis Management in a 3.0 World and is currently enjoying her speaking tour.

The show is broadcast live at 7:00 am Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica internet radio. Click here for more info: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/971/stars-of-pr.

Introducing Southern California Professional Magazine

Southern California Professional Magazine

Southern California Professional Magazine

Want to mention to all of you Southern California Professional Magazine. It’s a very new concept in online publishing. The magazine is publishing in two formats: static and flash. The static version looks like a conventional website, while the flash one looks like a printed magazine.

The first issue features articles from thought leaders including franchise attorney Barry Kurtz, author and sales consultant Alyse hart, business broker Matt Coletta, employment attorney Karen Gabler, iCare4Macs president David Joyce, and, well, me.

The magazine will be promoted with marketing activities including press releases, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, social marketing, and even an upcoming radio show appearance.

Care to see it? Visit www.socalprofessional.com to see. To view the flash version, click on the thumbnail cover in the upper right hand corner of the home page by the word “expand”. You can also access the flash version at http://issuu.com/socalprofessional/docs/socalpro.sellingbiz.wnter2012/3

Let me know what you think!

Marketing Makes A Comeback!

Marketing is making a comeback, and so am I. For the past 9 months, I’ve been actively blogging, but not under my own name. I was hired by several others to become their online voice. I’ve learned a lot new and exciting bits of marketing information which I plan to share with you over the coming months.

I chose take a rest from my own blog, but that’s over. I’m back to blogging on marketing and branding topics, and now in my own voice, and under my own name. While I will still consult with others on their blog efforts, I will not do it at the cost of my own blog ever again!

So, with that, please stay tuned for my upcoming posts, including commentary on the success and failures of social media, the marketing winners of this recession, and who the marketing thought leaders should be following.

It’s good to be back home!

What Attorneys Should Learn About Marketing From The Apple iPad

Apple iPad Marketing

Photo courtesy Apple Computer

What does the Apple iPad have to do with legal marketing? A lot.

Apple introduced the iPad in the spring of this year (2010). It came with modest applause from Mac fans; boo’s and jeers from the PC world. It wasn’t a full computer. It was, in essence, a giant iTouch. Most just simply said, “Why?”

That why was not a real question, but a rhetorical one. Those who didn’t “get it” simply assumed it would go away. An Apple failure.

But that didn’t happen.

First week sales were a few hundred thousand. It took a bit longer to hit one million in sales. PC fans assumed sales would fall off after the first blush.

But that didn’t happen, either.

In its first 80 days, the iPad sold 3 million units. Not too shabby. Pretty sure more PC manufacturers would jump at that. As would most phone manufacturers. Or any manufacturers of anything, for that matter.

Oh, and during this time, Apple also launced the new iPhone 4. As of this writing, 1.7 million in sales…in just 5 days. Not bad.

What about the attorney’s and their marketing lesson?

I consult with a lot of attorneys, accountants, financial professionals, and other professional service providers. The competition for lawyers is intense, and they’re diving into marketing like kids jumping in a pool on a hot summer’s day.

As much as attorneys have learned to “build a case” in law, they, as a group, don’t do the same in marketing. I find that all too often they look a quick fix, a silver bullet, or a miracle advertisement. “Just tell me which ad is the best, because I only want to run the one that brings in business.” (Real quote.) That’s like us saying, “Just use the defense that gets me off the hook, because I only want the one that guarantees the jury aquits me.”

Here’s three things I’ve learned to say when speaking on marketing to groups of lawyers.

1) Brands are built step by step over time. How you answer your phone, if you answer your phone, or what your voice mail sounds like—they’re all a part of your brand. Every experience your clients receive in working with you builds (or tears down) your brand. And it never ends. Your brand as an attorney is never done.

2) Don’t worry if everybody doesn’t “get it” right away. Marketing attorneys and law firms is about marketing expectations. When people don’t have the need for your services, they won’t hear much. Keep the message simple. Focus on being different, and being memorable. But when a potential client needs your services, they’re like patients in the emergency room: they want to know that there’s someone around to make things better. That’s what your brand needs to tell them, that you can help make things better.

3) First, be good at what you do. Then get people to understand what you do. Apple, in my opinion, didn’t do a great job of explaining what the iPad was for in the pre-launch marketing. Was it a tablet? A computer? A big “apps” screen? Apple’s first concern was doing their job of making a good piece of equipment that worked well. And they did that. Next came explaining it. How did Apple do that? They simply launched it. I bet their research showed that once in people’s hands, they’d love iPads. Every person I know with one was in love within five minutes of booting it up. Apple didn’t need to “sell”, they needed consumers to “experience” the iPad.

Three million units later, I’d say its working.

It’s been said that iPads are lousy for productivity. Why? Because as soon as you bring one to a meeting, everyone wants to play with it.

I know one attorney, a big PC guy, who was into music. He determined that an iPod was the best MP3 player and got one. A while later, he decided to get an iPhone, because his Blackberry just didn’t do all he wanted. Once he got that, he decided he wanted an Apple laptop for work. And yes, when the iPad came out, he got one of those, too. PC user, to Apple evangelist in 3 months flat!

I asked him which he used in court. His answer? “All three. I line them up. My laptop has all my files and notes. and my iPad has my case and presentation on it.”

“What about your phone?” I asked.

“That’s for calling home when court is in recess!”

– END –

Book: Law Firm Marketing Leaders – Tips from a Collection of Experts – Released!

I was recently asked to be a guest author of the new book(let) “Law Firm Marketing Leaders – Tips from a Collection of Experts”. In fact I was one of a dozen legal marketing experts to contribute.

As a brand consultant and executive marketing coach, I contributed five key personal marketing strategies for attorneys. I’ll be going over these in my blog in the days to come.

The books arrive at my office today…I’m shipping them out immediately to all of my lawyer / attorney clients! Please look for reviews coming up soon to a blog or website near you!

In-N-Out’s Burger’s #1 Marketing Rule

burger marketing

What's the one thing you do best?

It’s the number one rule of marketing. It’s that one thing we all must do. It’s the difference between a brand that is irresistible and one that is forgettable.

And if you’ve ever seen City Slickers, you may know where I’m going with this.

I recently sat in a meeting with a potential client. They’re a service firm, and they have a pretty good marketing focus on what they’re doing.

The problem is that their internal struggle is that some of the management team is fighting with the focus, and doesn’t want to give up promoting other service offerings.

In analyzing their business, we determined that no matter what the service offering, they’re really known for one thing. In this case, it’s experience. They’re the area’s most experienced firm, by a long shot. This needs to be the lead in any and all marketing efforts.

It’s what In-N-Out learned long ago. In their case, it’s fresh, juicy, burgers. It’s “all about the burger.” That’s what they’re great at. In many people’s minds, they do it better than any other fast food restaurant. Fries? Shakes? Yeah, they do those, too. But you go to In-N-Out for the burgers. They GET the other sales, too, but people will go long out of their way for the burgers, right past McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and the rest.

What does your brand do better than anyone? What can you shout louder? What mountain top can you own?

We’ve found, with client after client, that a “focus” strategy creates better understanding and demand for the brand. It separates you from the pack. It makes you stand out. It makes you…irresistible!

Clients are concerned that they “give up” something when the focus, but we have seen time after time that you still get the other business, too. We call it “over the transom” business. It still comes in. But you can get more for the “focused” product or service because you’re seen as a leader, and it increases demand.

How does In-N-Out make their burgers even more special? Double-doubles, 4x4s, animal style, and protein style! They’ve created their own burger language by having a “secret” menu.

Every brand needs a #1 rule for their marketing efforts. As Billy Crystal held up his index finger and talked about the “one thing” everybody needs to know about the meaning of life. There’s one thing you need to know about your brand. Do it right, and the rest “don’t mean a thing.”