Brand Ambassadors, whether paid or unpaid, have a critical role that’s often overlooked and sometimes regarded as a line item first to cut, budget time.

The truth is, the best Brand Ambassadors mirror your voice and attitude in the marketplace. They take a company’s concept, stats and goals and create, then deliver, a message that feels authentic. Their job is to connect with your target audience and influence them in a positive way.

Busy managers and executives with aggressive goals sometimes forget that the Brand Ambassadors who carry your flag are people too.  Unconsciously, they can change their marketing tone if you forget to treat them as part of your team, barely pay attention or put inexperienced managers — who don’t understand group dynamics or the value of outsourced staff — as first command.

Brand Ambassadors who showcase your products and services are valued allies in your PR and marketing efforts.  Maximize their output and high energy when you work together.

Here are 3 Ways to Motivate Your Brand Ambassadors   

  1. Acknowledge that a Brand Ambassador has an important role, just as important as a sales or marketing team member.  They’ll wear your brand, give a face to your company and hopefully convey heart and soul as well.  Show them the respect that they deserve as they interact with your prospects, clients and colleagues.  There’s an incredible upside to being valued as part of a team.
  2. Appreciate Brand Ambassadors as front line reps and show them love, even if it’s in small ways; invite them to company meetings, trainings and give them VIP access and parking if available when they’re working a high profile event. If tickets are plentiful at a certain venue, consider offering them as a thank you. Often, complimentary tickets get discarded, and it’s heartbreaking for some to see the waste. As in life, the gesture of sharing goes a long way and generosity is seldom forgotten.
  3. Allow Brand Ambassadors the flexibility to deliver your message, in their voice.  Every Brand Ambassador, like every person, has their own unique style, tone and timing  —  and the ways that people listen can be as varied. Be open to different communication styles to reach a wide and multi-cultural marketplace and honor their freedom to express themselves within the guidelines of the brand. With the high-tech world that we live in, there’s never been a better time to reach out and touch someone.

Brand Ambassadors touch one person at a time in ways that social media can’t.

Make every touch point count, from the top down.

Like this article?

Check out others I’ve written about promotions —  3 Key Traits of an Elite Brand Ambassador; The Power of PRiorities, PRofit and PRomotion3 Promotion Secrets of the Rich and Famous

If you’re in sales, marketing or a public speaker interested in maximizing their brand and image, think about hiring a stylist.

Your initial reaction may be similar to my first thoughts. “That’s way out of my league and too expensive.”

The truth is, a talented stylist is worth their weight in gold – especially if you want to look and feel your best and command the room with confidence and style.

If (and when) you hire a stylist, be willing to be vulnerable and open to suggestions. Your wardrobe advisor and image consultant has been trained, not just in the fashion sense, but in what flatters your body type. What you see as faults, have been seen thousands of times by other stylists and studied.

And yes, there are solutions.Beautiful young stylist near rack with hangers

Your flaws can be minimized and your most attractive features accentuated with a stylist’s recommendations and guidelines.

Here are 5 Reasons to Hire a Stylist: 

  1. After you’re over the initial, OMG, I can’t believe I’m hiring a stylist, you’ll realize that a stylist is a spot coach — just like I’m a spot coach for PR, small business marketing and free publicity. A stylist helps their clients look their best and improve their image with wardrobe essentials. You are your brand wherever you go. So, look fantastic!
  2. A stylist looks at you with different eyes than you look at yourself.  A trained professional sees your assets, not the negative parts of yourself you want to blink away. Stylists have your image, lifestyle and brand in mind for how you want to show up. They have a strategy in mind and a plan. Follow it to get noticed.
  3. Love the fact that your stylist is connected.  They’ll hook you up with their A-list of resources, tailors and beauty folk. They’ll share their favorite store contacts and will call ahead to make sure you’re treated like a VIP. Guys, listen up. This includes you too. The secrets of stylists could save you thousands of dollars and time that you don’t have.
  4. Shopping can be as easy as you like. It’s possible that you’ll fall in love with your UPS or Fed Ex driver every day when they show up with new outfits. Feel weird about all the attention? Love yourself more and more as you look in the mirror and experiment with new styles. Imagine yourself in front of your audience with only two thoughts; how great you look and how much they want to buy from you. (Think positive, right)?
  5. A paid speaker or professional should look like the price they’re charging. Say you’re charging $2500 for a workshop. Shouldn’t your outfit reflect your expertise and the richness of your work? Heck, yeah. Step into your power and awesomeness!  Upgrade your look to be consistent with your talent, skill and offer.

I’m a fan of virtual styling and like to look at clothes on line because it’s relaxing.  Others like meeting their stylists at their favorite stores, or wherever they’re told to go. Every person and situation is unique.

If you invest in your education and mentoring, why not invest in your wardrobe and image.

Tie everything together for maximum impact.

After all, it’s your PR and marketing brand we’re talking about.

You know what happens when news becomes NEWS. People talk about it. Then they share. “Watch this” they quickly post and soon, everyone has an opinion. It’s pretty powerful when news goes viral or when a news story gets picked up – almost as if it takes a life of its own. Web traffic spikes and someone, somewhere is getting their 15 minutes of fame.

Big and little brands would do just about anything for the opportunity to be in front of so many viewers/eyeballs/prospects. Who wouldn’t want traffic like that to their website? Not to inform of course, but to promote their products or services (aka sell).

So, what’s a business — small or large — to do?

Why, Newsjack!

I’m sure you’ve seen it and bet you have your own thoughts.  You either hate it or love it. Opinions are divided, and often it’s about the subject material.

Here’s a recent article on newsjacking that’s more positive than negative, which is a nice change from what I’ve been reading lately.

In How To Boost Your Content Creation Strategy With Newsjacking, author Amanda Webb of Agora Pulse describes one major benefit of newsjacking:

“Newsjacking is a gift to content marketers. Events and news can give us the trigger we need to create good interesting, on topic content.”

She goes on to list 10 examples of recent newsjacking that you’ll definitely want to check out.

Next up is ‘Newsjacking Gone Wrong’ by SpinSucks. It’s a ‘caution up ahead’ article by Gina Dietrich and provides links to newsjacking which in fact, has gone wrong. Gina quotes the ‘daddy of newsjacking’, Meerman Scott by going over his four rules.

Meerman Scott’s four simple rules (of newsjacking):

  1. Be dignified and statesmanlike.
  2. Be upbeat and positive, never mean or vindictive.
  3. Write articulate text in full sentences, without chatty slang, industry jargon, corporate gobbledgook or social media shorthand.
  4. Don’t get too cute or clever—especially where human suffering is involved.

Last but not least, here’s one more direct link to an article with three additional (not so well thought out) examples. 3 Newsjacking Fails That’ll Make You Facepalm

Use these to understand what went wrong and why audiences became so upset. Use this to set your own standard and ‘rules’ for newsjacking if you decide to use this technique for content creation.

Just remember to be ‘tasteful, on time, different and relevant’.

Over Memorial Day, I had a tremendous opportunity to go to Charleston and Savannah. They’re both beautiful cities, each with a style their own.  If I had to choose where to live, it would be a tough decision – but I think Savannah would probably win!

Walking through Savannah, you can’t help but feel the historical energy of the city – and more than a kick of new and funky style.

Businesses are booming here and a steady flow of street traffic and out of town visitors allows marketers to get ‘city-specific’ to attract their target audience.

What better way than car wrapping!

I love this photo because it’s mobile advertising at its best, taking the concept of the tour company’s service one step further by adding an extra detail, a passenger!

SpookyVan

If you think mobile marketing is just having a smart phone compatible website, think again.

It’s scary what you can do when you get creative!

Here’s to this ghostess with the mostess, promoting her brand.

Do you ever have an ‘off ‘ day? You can sure bet that I have!

How do you act when your day isn’t going as planned? Do you complain? Let everyone around you know how miserable you are? Do you feel compelled to share all your troubles with your coworkers, colleagues and – yikes, I hope not – your online audience?

Remember, whatever is said and done online stays there forever.

Let that sink in for a minute…I mean forever.

Unlike when you say something out of anger or frustration in person, when you say it online it’s there for the world to see and reread, over and over again. Long past the time that you were mad, hurt or filled with fury!

Your online presence says a lot about you. So, when you’re negative or in a ‘crazy space’ and share those feelings online, your audience will get a certain impression of you. Good, bad or ugly. I’m sure you don’t want to be remembered for that!

Now, what if someone says something bad about you?

For that, you’ll need to monitor your name and your brand’s name at all times. (Love Google Alerts!) Online customer service is expected and expected fast.  When something goes wrong, make it right!

Sproutsocial tells the tales of 5 PR disasters and also gives you some insights on what to do when disaster strikes.

Let’s look at a real case study of Amy’s Baking Company and their Facebook Page rants. After chef Gordon Ramsey walked off the set for the first time in his show’s history, the admin to Amy’s Baking Company’s Facebook Page went crazy. The bakery owners later claimed to have been hacked. They ended up having to hire a PR firm to help them clean up their mess, all because a bad day in a person’s life  turned into a very bad, horrible sort of day on the internet! Read more about this PR disaster story here.

If you want to know what to do in the case of a PR disaster, read this. Four cases, four companies handled it well.

Take notes! When the (bad) mood strikes, get off the grid for a day or so, but when disaster strikes, stay close, keep monitoring and respond!

Branding today doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  In fact, one of my greatest pleasures is teaching clients how to promote themselves using low-cost and often free tips, tricks and tools for high impact publicity and social media exposure.

One critically important element of branding is your avatar or photo – the consistent image you’ll use on all of your social media platforms. Your avatar is a representation of who you are on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, You Tube and anywhere online where you post comments or questions.

A few comments on Avatars:

  • An avatar is a very small photo or representation of you. Not sure how to create one? Check out  www.Gravatar.com.
  • Unless you’re a big company (think Coca-Cola, Zappos) don’t use a logo. Use a photo of yourself that doesn’t include a plant sticking out of your head, someone’s arm cut off around your shoulder, or with your favorite can of brew.
  • Remember that you are your brand wherever you go. Please make your image professional, consistent with your reputation and where you’re going in your career.
  • Photos last a lifetime on the internet and they’re dragged up often unexpectedly and to your surprise.
  • You may think it’s funny (today) to post a ‘joke of a photo or picture’ as your avatar, but unless you think you’re a joke, think twice. Not only are you your brand wherever you go, that’s how you’ll be remembered on line – like it or not.
  • Avatars help people be recognized. More than a handful of times I’ve been noticed in a crowd based on the photo (avatar) someone recognized online and offline promoting my brand.

And oh, did I mention, your avatar should  look like you? Not 20 years ago, or 50 pounds ago. An avatar represents you, in real life.

Your best self.

Love your best self,it’s the only one you’ve got!

From my avatar to yours, all the best!

How many conferences do you attend each year? It can be a lot of money for you (or your boss) to fork over. Yet, they are so worth it! Conferences don’t just provide continuing education for your industry, they also provide priceless and countless networking opportunities.

The BEST way to get the most out of your money and time is to prepare well ahead – so you can plan the networking and follow up process to your BEST advantage.

21 Tips For Meeting People That Will Rock Your Next Conference is packed with excellent ideas and tips on what to do before you get to the conference. Tips like ‘bring business cards’ are a no-brainer, but also ‘check out the gym’, ‘be a mindful fan, not a nuisance’ and of course, ‘tweet that you’ll be there to meet other attendees’. I highly recommend this read to be best prepared. I’ve written an article on this subject myself and you can read it here.

While you’re at the conference, there are several must know’s that will come in handy – especially if this is your first really big conference. I like the featured article because it gives you five good tips that you’ll want to implement.‘If you’re going to spend money and sacrifice a valuable chunk of time that could be spent taking action, then it had better be worthwhile.’ Take a few minutes to read 5 Tips for Making the Most of a Conference.

Once you’re home from the conference – or on the way home – trust me, you aren’t done! The real networking and relationships come after you’ve met. They continue online and across multiple platforms. Here’s Nataly Kogan’s take on it: 10 Tips to Maximize Networking After a Conference.  She gives several do’s and don’ts on how to continue those conversations and give tips on how to make those relationships blossom.

I’d love to know where you are headed this year and what your most valuable tip is to someone who is a first time attendee.

Happy February, friends! Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, it’s still the month of love and relationships — so let’s keep that theme for this week’s Rainmaker.

In business relationships, much like personal relationships, communication is a key component to growth and success. How are you communicating with your prospects, your team and your clients?

First up, I recommend this read, ‘Three meetings you need to schedule right now’ by Jonah Engler via Everything PR. By following his advice and scheduling a few important meetings, he promises we’ll grow our business. Who will you be meeting with this week?

Next up is actionable advice from Cathy Miller, ‘Business Communication Shouts Action’. This is the first in a year-long journey through the alphabet. I’m looking forward to reading the next few letters. “C” for yourself!

Lastly, ‘How to write better emails and make them work for you’ by Alex Strike for B2Community highlights the importance of academic vs. business writing, words to kill and clarity in your message.  How many times have you read an email that could be shortened to a few sentences? Or, you were left wondering, huh?

How are your communication skills? Could you use a refresher?

Let’s chat!

If you’re like me and don’t care for the same old same old on Valentine’s Day, you might appreciate a few new ways your sweetheart could say ‘I Love You’.

Is that a yes, or at least a maybe? Then take a look at PhotoFunia.com where you can create a personalized message and ‘name drop’ for fun, marketing or just because.

Want to see your photo in a cup of frothy cappuccino? Your headshot in a museum gallery? Or your logo in the spotlight of Times Square? Ask and you will receive!

Take a few minutes to explore the hundreds of almost instant graphics to choose from and customize your ‘I Love You’ this weekend or message any day in a fun, playful way.

For my kids, sweetheart and readers, Happy Valentine’s Day!

ILoveYou

And, to the New England Patriots and Football Fans everywhere,

Love-Football

Wishing you love in ‘every zone’ — with no timeouts.

I’m so lucky to have a host of colleagues, spot coaches and friends who share amazing info, websites and tools to make my life easier. They help me save time and brainpower, and I’m grateful for all of their resources – so I can share with you!

Let me introduce you to Tweak Your Biz – Title Generator.

Faster than you can say ‘Give me 100 titles for a newsletter, blog or article’, you pull up the website, type in your key words, hit enter and Abbacadabra, you have a stream of ideas and titles to work with about any given subject.

>> I typed in Real Estate as an example. Here are a few of the titles that came up for me:

  • Apply These 8 Secret Techniques To Improve Real Estate
  • Believing These 8 Myths About Real Estate Keeps You From Growing
  • Don’t Waste Time! 8 Facts Until You Reach Your Real Estate
  • How 8 Things Will Change The Way You Approach Real Estate
  • Real Estate Awards: 8 Reasons Why They Don’t Work & What You Can Do About It
  • Real Estate Doesn’t Have To Be Hard. Read These 8 Tips
  • Real Estate Is Your Worst Enemy. 8 Ways To Defeat It
  • Real Estate On A Budget: 8 Tips From The Great Depression
  • Knowing These 8 Secrets Will Make Your Real Estate Look Amazing
  • Master The Art Of Real Estate With These 8 Tips
  • My Life, My Job, My Career: How 8 Simple Real Estate Helped Me Succeed
  • Take Advantage Of Real Estate – Read These 8 Tips
  • The Next 8 Things You Should Do For Real Estate Success
  • The Time Is Running Out! Think About These 8 Ways To Change Your Real Estate
  • The 8 Best Things About Real Estate
  • The 8 Biggest Real Estate Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid
  • The 8 Most Successful Real Estate Companies In Region
  • Think Your Real Estate Is Safe? 8 Ways You Can Lose It Today
  • Thinking About Real Estate? 8 Reasons Why It’s Time To Stop!

Click Here to View the Whole List

When you’re struggling with ideas on what to write about, or need some inspiration for a magazine article, newsletter, blog, white paper, webinar – or you name it – check out this new tool. Every title might not work but you can sift through the list to find out what works for you.

I love it!

More on things I love next week. It is Love month you know!