Is Passion Always a Good Thing?

passion

Passion – it could be a most positive factor in the workplace, BUT it could also be extremely detrimental.

Passion – “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” (Source).

Passion might be the most overused and misleading word to describes one’s professional mentality.  Heck, I often describe myself as passionate, especially as I just went through a number of job interviews.

But I also want you to beware of passion.  The type of passion that comes from a self-absorbed individual that is passionate about themselves. Passionate for their own advancement and individual goals.  And this type of person can be found at every level in organizations.

So if we review the definition of passion above, I think the words “intense” and “driving” require further examination.  When we look at the passion of a person in a professional setting, are we talking about a myopic individual that is close-minded and has an inability to a) take input and get insights for all people, and b) focuses on their own success and not the successes of the people they work with.

If you really want to add a key player to your team, find someone with passion. But most importantly find a person with the passion to make others around him or her wildly successful.  This is key to developing a winning team.  A championship team that drives strong profitable growth.

You might ask, how do I find passionate employees but at the same time know they are passionate team players as opposed to solo artists.  I suggest you go through this line of questioning with them and ask:

  1. Are you passionate?
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. Oh, and by the way, what does passion mean to you?

 

The first question is really a throwaway question and a setup. Would anyone actually answer that they are not passionate?  The second question forces the individual to be subjective in their vision of passion.  You get to find out areas of the individual’s passion and the magnitude of their passion in the fields they state.  But the third question is the most important one.  It feels like a casual off the cuff question to the recipient.  But their answer is most telling.  When they define passion, how self-focused is their answer versus team-focused?

I always believed I was a passionate person.  But I have reassessed what passion really means as a result of various individuals I have worked for and with.  I do believe that people automatically think passion in the workplace is a most positive attribute.  But at the same time, it can be truly harmful.  Make sure you understand the differences and build an awesome team.

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Job Hunting and the Hiring Process – It Needs to be Fixed

Colleagues Job Offer Job Workplace Job Search

This past November my position at a startup ended because the company ran out of funding.  (A longer story for another time.)  As a result, I hit the job market.  I landed a great position that I start next week. (More soon.)

While I am lucky to have secured a job at a great company and have a great opportunity to build on what they already have accomplished, I must say, I find the job hunt process, recruiters, and candidate behavior troubling.

First on the candidate side … I am shocked to learn that there are “ghost” candidates. Individuals that actually have a scheduled interview and do not show up, do not correspond to say that they will not make the meeting and don’t even bother to say they are no longer interested.  If I ever knew a candidate had ghosted an employer or recruiter in the past, I would never consider hiring them.  This demonstrates a total lack of integrity and responsibility.

On the recruiter and employer side, I would offer that the situation is equally problematic.  If someone takes the time to reach out to you (the employer/recruiter), I do believe it is your obligation to respond. And respond at all stages – application submission and all stages of the interview process.  A simple thank you for the application is warranted.  I also believe that employers and recruiters should be upfront and notify candidates when they are no longer considered for the position they applied for.  The actions of HR represent the reputation of the company and brand as a whole.

Much of the problem results from the digital world we have today.  There are an abundance of job sites and job listings.  There is an abundance of people applying for jobs. We are now in a point and click world where you can find just about anything and click without thought.  So job seekers are applying for a ton of positions without much discretion.

On the other end, recruiters are inundated with applicants.  But I do not think this is an excuse not to respond to applicants.  First off, let them know you have received their application. At any point when you have determined they are no longer a consideration, let them know.  If an applicant emails you for status, respond, especially when you have progressed into an interviewing stage.  This is common courtesy and a reflection of your company.

Everything an applicant and hiring company does adds to their reputation.  Job seekers and companies need to look at each step of their actions as a branding opportunity.

As our digital world dilutes personal interaction, I believe that the employment process needs to reassess and add more people to people interaction.

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Why Would Anyone Want to Buy Anything From You?

why would anyone.jpg

Stop for a minute – can you actually answer this question with conviction – not your conviction, but conviction from your target audience?

I am currently working with a new client and our first activity is defining their positioning statement before we do any marketing strategy. Here is the formal template for a positioning statement:

  • For …………….………… [target customer]
  • Who ……………….……. [key qualifier – form]
  • Our product is a ….. [product category]
  • That provides ………. [key benefit]
  • Unlike ………………….. [main competitor]
  • Our product ……….… [key point of differentiation]

As the client is working on this they said to me, “Ugh!!  I’m having the hardest time with this,” to which I replied, “I know this is hard.  So is being successful in business.”

For some of you, this might seem like a textbook exercise rather than a business imperative.  I would warn you, nailing this down is essential to business success.

Why go through this activity?

  • It forces you to specify
    1. your target audience,
    2. your value proposition for that target audience,
    3. and your key differentiation.
  • It presses you to have a compelling marketing strategy. Now you have a statement to test all marketing efforts and messaging against.
  • It declares your “fight” to for all internal personnel. (This statement should not be explicitly used for external communication.)

If you are not prepared to answer, “Why Would Anyone Want to Buy Anything From You?” how could you ever have a successful marketing program and business?

Traditional marketing standards still play an important and imperative roll in today’s changing marketing digital practices.  Need help with your marketing or go-to-market strategy? Reach me at social.steve.goldner@gmail.com.

Make It Happen,

Steve

 

 

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Personal Branding – The Content of Your Social Presence

personal-brand

Back into 2007, I started to get active on social media.  This was more of a professional conscious move than a personal one.  At that time, I was ending a position as a VP of Product Marketing at a technology company and planning my next professional pivot.

Coincidently, social networks such as MySpace (remember them), Facebook, and Twitter were emerging from early adopter stages.  I had a revelation that marketing was going to dramatically change.  Brands could no longer own their brand image.  Yes, they could still find ways to control it, but not outright own it.  The democratize public would now have more control over the validity of what a brand marketed and on the brand’s reputation. Any brand could throw positive superlatives as their slogans, but if people called foul, the voices of the audience they marketed to could make or break their success.

Thinking about social media in a professional context rather than a personal one first has had its benefits. I was not a teenager when social media became the communication platform it is today.  You won’t find posts of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll (metaphorically or literally) from me on Facebook or elsewhere that I regret.  But we all know the potential harms of that.  So let’s discuss the use of social media for a more mature audience.

Social media is your personal marketing tool. It is your opportunity to introduce and reinforce what you are all about – your experiences, subject-matter expertise, leadership style, and persona.

Let’s start out with one overarching rule – determine which social networks you use for personal and professional purposes.  For example, I use Facebook for only personal stuff and LinkedIn and Twitter for professional posts.  I am a voyeur on Instagram and really do not post there.  With regards to Facebook and who I connect with, I have a litmus test – do I want you to see me in a bathing suit on the beach or not.  That test eliminates people I work with.  Yes, you can make a second Facebook account for professional use.  (They don’t like that, but I have.)

Now think about where and how you should post on social networks such that it helps your professional career.  The first question I would ask you is what is your value proposition as a professional. Yes, this is very much like a brand value proposition, but rather a statement about the value you bring to an organization.  What are you a subject-matter expert of?  Understand what that is and how it changes over time.  I am not suggesting you ever post your value proposition, but EVERYTHING you post in a professional social media environment should reinforce your value proposition.  If you are a welder, you should post articles about that profession, suggest tips on processes, show pictures of yourself in that setting.  It does not matter what your profession is. And your postings should be both original and curated content.

I do believe that social postings for a professional are a lifetime commitment.  Not just something you do when you are looking for something in return like sales or a job.  You need your portfolio of content out there all the time.  Then few things can happen: 1) people come to you for help or advice, 2) people follow you because you offer value to them, and 3) a great opportunity arises that you never even expected to happen.  All of these payoffs happen serendipitously. But there is at least one other positive outcome, and that is when you are looking for a new job, you have already opened your network and following, and reinforced the value you bring to an organization.

Do not underestimate the power of your professional brand and some of the “marketing” processes you should apply to your own brand.

 

Make It Happen,

Steve

 

 

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10 Hallmarks of Successful Brands in 2019

10 Hallmarks of Successful Brands in 2019

  1. Empathy.

 

  1. Morals and Dignity.

 

  1. Customer/client appreciation

 

  1. Strategic advocacy development.

 

  1. Coupling of intuition and data-driven.

 

  1. Trifecta media – owned, earned and paid.

 

  1. “How can I help you” mentality and commitment.

 

  1. Content relevance driven by target audience needs and behavior.

 

  1. Social and cultural relevance.

 

  1. Shift from corporate communication to customer/client communication.

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Who is Driving Your Social Strategy and Results?

Imagination Working Man Woman Traveling Adventure

After 11 years of driving social media strategies and execution, I finally see that just about every brand, organization, and/or company understand that they must invest in social/content implementations.  The number of open “social media manager” positions is astounding.  I find this most compelling to see having been an early thought leader and adopter in digital marketing.  But there is still (at least) one downside – do the people filling these positions understand how to implement a compelling strategy and plan that drives executive key performance indicators (KPIs)?

Over and over again, I see companies aiming to hire a millennial that lives social media with the expectation that these individuals will drive business results.  Many companies want results, but do not want to budget significant expenses in the area that they know they need to play in.  And to top that, they often are not sure what results to aim for and expect.

But there is an alternative solution to hiring someone without significant marketing experience and busting your budget for an experienced digital marketing executive with deep roots in marketing to deliver measurable results against KPIs.

You need to hire an experienced digital marketing executive that will formulate your social, content, influencer, and paid media marketing strategy and plan and initiate the execution. You need to hire someone that will drive real results and not “just do it.”  Yes, this person will require more budget then just hiring a “social media whiz,” but this position need not be permanent.

Consider hiring a seasoned marketer for a project.  Let him/her examine your brand position, the target audience you serve, competitors, set performance metrics, and build a strategy and plan that will drive results.  Have them mentor and train a more junior social media manager and then let that more cost-effective social media manager execute brand initiatives on a continuous base.  You need someone with real marketing experience and a successful track record, to drive results, but need not keep them on board forever.

Think about this. Would you be willing to invest in a one-time project with a finite budget to drive digital success?  No hidden agenda – I am available to be that person to set you up for success on a project bases.

Whether I help you or someone else does it, consider having an experienced professional define the strategy and plan found at the bottom of this article before you can expect significant, meaningful results from a social media manager.

If you would like to have an informational/exploratory conversation regarding how this approach might help you and your brand, please reach out to me at social.steve.goldner@gmail.com and we will set up some time to chat.

Make It Happen,

Steve Goldner

 

This is an outline of a strategy/plan I have delivered to major brands:

1   Executive Summary

2   Social Marketing Objective

3   Mandatory Elements

3.1   Monitoring and Listening

3.2   Social engagement

3.3   Brand Community

3.4   User Generated Content (UGC)

3.5   Influencer outreach, connection, partnering, and advocacy

3.6   Key Response

4   Assumptions

5   Social Marketing Strategy Definitions

5.1   Target Audience Definition

5.1.1   Brand Target Audience

5.1.2   Social Target Audience

5.2   Journey of a Buyer

5.3   Messaging Strategy

5.4   Social Content Strategy

5.4.1   Content Types

5.4.1.1   Reviews

5.4.1.2   Shopper Tools

5.4.1.3   Buyer’s Guides

5.4.1.4   News

5.4.1.5   UGC

5.4.1.6   Engaging Discussions on Brand Community

5.4.1.7   Feature Articles

5.4.1.8   Videos

5.4.1.9   Podcast

5.4.1.10   Memes

5.4.1.11   Images

5.4.1.12   Polls and Questions

5.4.1.13   Brand Relevance to Current Events and Culture

5.4.1.14   Social Movement

5.4.1.15   Curation

5.4.1.16   Content Types on Various Social Channels

6   Social Media Channel Plan

6.1   Facebook

6.1.1   Competition on Facebook

6.1.2   Recommendations for Brand on Facebook

6.2   Twitter

6.2.1   Competition on Twitter

6.2.2   Recommendations for Brand on Twitter

6.3   Pinterest

6.3.1   Competition on Pinterest

6.3.2   Recommendations for Brand on Pinterest

6.4   Instagram

6.4.1   Competition on Instagram

6.4.2   Recommendations for Brand on Instagram

6.5   YouTube

6.5.1   Competition on YouTube

6.5.2   Recommendations for Brand on YouTube

7   Monitoring and Listening

8   Identifying Influencers

9   Engagement Strategy

9.1   Engagement Strategy – Influencers

9.2   Engagement Strategy – Social Engagement

9.3   Engagement Strategy – Social Channels

9.4   Comments and posts by users on Brand’s social channels

9.5   Engagement Strategy – In-Market Buyers

9.6   Engagement Strategy – Community Members

10   Brand Community

11   User-Generated Content Strategy

12   Brand Content Planning

13   Social Measurement Strategy

14   Conclusion

15   Appendix

Need help with your marketing, social marketing, or go-to-market strategy? Reach me at social.steve.goldner@gmail.com.

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How to Maximize Professional Results – Restarting Work After The Holiday

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After taking some time off from work, how do you re-ignite your professional life?  I never really gave this much thought until this past week.

Working at a start-up business, I never have enough resources to get everything done that needs to be completed.  For me, I always tried to catch everything that needed to get covered while not showing signs of discomfort or stress to those around me.  The reality is that no matter how you feel, it does NO good to add tension in the workplace.  There will always be someone in the organization that is will do that, unfortunately, so it is important to overcompensate for those individuals and provide a sense of calm.

But that was not the big ah-ha for me this holiday time.  My kids have been away at college and having them back in our household really was extremely special.  Not that we did anything special, but being together was and always will be special. It is good to have a special diversion from work.  It truly took my head out of work – everyone needs that.

And clearing your head is probably the most important preface to heading back to work after the holiday.  Now take advantage of your break and let it create a new clear vision for you.  Ask yourself the questions you asked yourself when you started your job, your leadership position. (Leaders can be found at every level in the organization chart – see this.)  What is the organizational mission?  What is the company strategy? What is the value you deliver to your target audience? How do you create the most positive customer/client-experience?  And most importantly, what are you, your team, your company doing to address positive results related to the answers to these questions and your organizations KPIs (key performance indicators).

When I look back at these exact questions posed and assess them in my professional life, I see a need for change.  For too long there have been daily activities that do not make sense to continue.

The pressure of driving strong business results often makes organizations deviate from worthwhile day-by-day endeavors.  Yes, we often do something to fix a short-term result that makes sense at that given moment, but does not necessarily support long-term winning endeavors.  I believe that successful executives must have a clear understanding of the difference between the two.  I have worked for a “shoot-from-the-hip” executive.  This person pushed the company to solve daily problems without having a vision and strategy to support long-term success. As a result, l can document the missed opportunities because a cohesive plan was not in place.  A task to support a cohesive strategy and plan was not in place. We missed the boat on many market opportunities. As said previously, leaders come from all parts of an organization independent company structure and individuals’ positions and that means my accountability, your accountability.

So as you face getting back to work after the holiday, take the morning (or even the night before) to re-assess the right questions about your business and maybe even more importantly, the people your serve as customers/clients and take corrective action. Think about your daily activities that you need to tweak to support long-term success.  I am certain you have gotten away from at least a few of them. Adjust and …

 

Make It Happen,

Steve

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