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reputation management

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Asking for magic without leaving the comfort zone would be like handing Picasso a single bucket of grey paint and expecting a masterpiece. 

It’s an overused statement, but magic does NOT happen inside your comfort zone.

Nearly every day, clients and prospects bring up examples of groundbreaking ideas. Things they’ve seen in case studies or heard about, brilliant work that made a difference. Then they proceed to explain that they want something just as groundbreaking, something that will disrupt the market, something that will break through the clutter…BUT, they want to do this without making any changes, without breaking new ground, without learning new tricks, without taking some chances, without being the bad-ass decision-maker they’re trying to emulate.

Asking for magic without leaving the comfort zone would be like handing Picasso a single bucket of grey paint and expecting a masterpiece.

If you’re wanting to disrupt your market, be a market-leader. Today is the day to roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and break new ground.

branding free advice perception and reality reputation management

Image is everything

Simple post, regarding something seen whilst jogging.

If your name has ‘lighting’ in it, you may want to keep your damn sign lit.

general business reputation management

A quick testimonial – Adam Brown / Tennessee School of Beauty

“My  name is Adam Brown and I am a 4th generation Cosmetology School owner. Our school basically had a monopoly in the city of Knoxville until 4 corporate schools moved into the area about 3 years ago.  When they came in, I knew we would have to do things a little differently than we had done in previous years, especially in terms of marketing.  After researching and interviewing many marketing/public relations firm, I realized that Zane Hagy would owned the perfect firm to keep us as the leader in the market.

Zane made me look at things differently than I had before. I went from spending more than $100,000 on radio ads to updating our web and internet presence (all for much less than we were spending on radio).  In addition to updating our logo and catalog, he also suggested we spend money doing events—a great and successful idea.  Then he suggested we spend our energies going out in the public and doing tons of free services for various charities—-again, very successful and great for name recognition and p.r..  Then he suggested we doing a video campaign with lots of testimonials (TSB4me).  I am pleased to say that by consistently changing up what we were doing and moving on to the next big thing, we have been able to increase our enrollment and stay at the top of the market.

Zane works with my ideas and always listens, but he also knows that I have 100% confidence that his marketing ideas will work.  I guess one of my strengths is letting the experts do what they do best while I focus on running my school.  My advice for anyone considering using Zane for their school or salon is to do two things: 1) hire them, and 2) listen to them. It’s very difficult sometimes to get away from what just worked, but because we’ve been willing to keep changing things up, we’ve been able to remain fresh in the public’s eye.”

Adam Brown, President
“Where Future Salon Owners are Born”

public relations reputation management social media

How to respond to positive reviews online, and why you should

Every time a review is posted online, there’s basically two initial reactions:

  1. the self-congratulatory high-five for a good review, or
  2. the seething sense of believe that customers simply don’t know what they’re talking about for a bad review.

Most people know how important it is to reply to negative reviews, but many overlook the value of responding to positive reviews. Replying to positive reviews can be just as important to replying to those pesky complaints.

Here’s a few of the reasons that you should always reply to the positive reviews:

  • It’s simply the right thing to do. If someone walks up to you on the street and tells you that you look amazing, at a minimum you say ‘Thank You.’ (If someone did that to me, I’d likely pass out – but that’s a personal problem I have with handling compliments). This isn’t as private as someone talking to you on the street, they’ve left a positive review in a public space, so be extra appreciative!
  • It’s a marketing tool. People read reviews. When someone reads about another customer’s positive experience and they see your reply, and how you treat your customers/friends, it’s a chance to start developing a relationship with these new people.
  • It will help the positive reviews show in search results, as they will have activity and be seen as more useful reviews, raising them in the world of online rankings.

Responding to positive reviews is one of the simplest things you’ll ever do. Just follow these three very simple steps.

  1. Be real. Make sure the reply provides specific comments about the review and mentions a name, you don’t want people to think that a random piece of software is simply giving a ‘thumbs-up’ to positive review.
  2. Talk to the search engines as well as the people, be sure to pepper in a couple things you need indexed online such as the name of your business and the service you’re talking about. Don’t just say, “We’re glad you had a great experience,” say “On behalf of XXX we’re thrilled you’re enjoying the best haircut you’ve ever received in Chicago!”
  3. Add anything else that might be helpful. Mention a new product they may wish to try, new service hours that could make life even better, new items that are coming in next week, etc. etc. – use this chance to market to the reviewer and those that read the reviews.

The next time one of those positive reviews comes in, don’t just give yourself a high-five, and don’t just say ‘Thanks!’ — use this as a chance to strengthen your ties to the consumer, offer them new opportunities to visit you, and let the world know how much you appreciate them.

advertising branding marketing rants and ramblings reputation management social media

Millennial with a mobile phone doesn’t necessarily equate to social media marketer

You’ve worked for years on your brand. You’ve carefully crafted a look and feel for your company. You have that elevator speech down to an actual fucking art, you can make someone want to hand you money if you have 3 minutes alone with them.

Things have changed in the past few years. Now it appears that every business has to be on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if they want reach consumers. You don’t want to spend time every day trying to monitor online activities and posting narcissistic images, but you have several staff members or family members or family members of staff members that seem to love to use social media. These odd acquaintances have 1000s of followers and can talk all day long about social media and absolutely love to post pictures of their hair and the food they just ate. It seems natural to hand social media activities over to these little online zombies and let them use these ‘skills’ to build your brand and keep you in front of the public eye.

I see this happen almost daily. Brands handed over to people without backgrounds and education and experience in branding. Suddenly the online brands look very different than the brand that has been carefully crafted. The look and feel of your company that exists online would have made you cringe a few years ago. Logos are suddenly pink because it was more visible on the image that was stolen via a Google image search. Likes are counted as important when they have nothing to do with influence – quite often, the type of people that like the new online presence are not the least bit like your actual demographic, they just find the headline funny and notice that one of their ‘friends’ liked the post.

If your online branding is in the hands of someone that doesn’t handle branding for a living, take a look at it. Scour through every post with a new eye. Is this really how you want to be seen? Do the posts fit the carefully crafted messages you are putting forth elsewhere? You’ve been warned, your brand is crumbling in front of your eyes.

general business rants and ramblings reputation management

Haunted by Past Mistakes

Whatever you do, you’ve done some things that didn’t work out. If you’re a driven individual, you’ve flat out done some things that failed miserably. You can’t break new ground without having a few things go horribly awry.

The key to winning is to keep making mistakes. The more mistakes you allow yourself to make, the more you’ll learn and the more you’ll accomplish. If you’ve hit that spot that you’re paralyzed by your past mistakes and simply can’t move forward, maybe you’re only one more mistake away from something so big it makes you forget about all those mistakes.

Make mistakes. Get back up. Dust yourself off. Learn from it. Go make another mistake.

Don’t let the mistakes haunt you, embrace them.

rants and ramblings reputation management

There’s always a little more to the story

Well, maybe this cartoon isn’t exactly realistic, but it makes a good point. No matter what you think you know, there’s always a little more to the story. Even once you have all the facts…there’s still more.

When you see part of the puzzle, step back and look at it all. Then step back again. There’s always more.


rants and ramblings reputation management social media

How to take the perfect Selfie!

Just stop.

If you found your way to this article…just stop.

Don’t worry about a perfect selfie. Don’t worry about an imperfect selfie. Let it go.

Enjoy your surroundings and your experiences and don’t worry about how many other people decide to ‘like’ them for you.

advertising marketing public relations reputation management

Play the Game, Change the Rules

Each day you get up, you have to play the game. Work has to be done, there are certain tasks that must be completed. However, you don’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done. If you want to succeed, be disruptive. Play the game, but change the rules.

Take a look at your routine today. Why are you doing things the way you do? Have you thought about doing them differently? Look at your marketing and public relations budgets and highlight anything that’s just there because it always has been, I guarantee you there is a better way to allocate those funds. In most cases, I find there is a way to save money while shaking up the system and getting better results.

advertising branding general business marketing reputation management

We Never Go Out of Style

James Dean, picnics, whiskey, red lipstick…some things never go out of style. They may not be the current trend, but they’ll always be there in the background.

There are also those things that simply don’t have the staying power. Cupcake stores, Duck Dynasty, Gangham Style, Crocs, Honey Boo Boo…they may have moments of extreme popularity, but they die out over time.

You have to stay on top of trends, and you have to adjust communications to fit the fickle nature of the world we live in. You don’t, however, have to be a brand that will pass like just another fad. Always be cognizant of your positioning, and unless you’re simply trying to make a quick buck, be a brand that never goes out of style.