• What’s the Big Idea, Anyway?
    14/03/17 Uncategorized

    What’s the Big Idea, Anyway?

    A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear the marketing legend, Todd Brown, speak. If you don’t know Todd, he’s a highly-revered expert in the subject of direct response advertising. More specifically, he’s a master at driving consumers through “funnels” that ultimately lead to product purchase – using copy that leads and entices.

     

    Todd’s message at the conference? The Single Big Idea:

     

    “In order for your marketing message to COMPEL your prospects to act, it must be driven by a SINGLE idea, and that idea must be a BIG idea.”

     

    In further detail, Todd says: “You have to find an idea to base your marketing message on that is arresting, compelling, and intellectually interesting to prospects. You have to find an idea that cuts through the clutter, screams of being new, and fresh, and sucks prospects in and makes them want to learn more. And in the process, you have to refuse to settle for run of the mill, mediocre ideas to base your marketing on.”

     

    A big idea. It sounds so logical, doesn’t it? So simple? So integral to the success of any brand or business?

     

    But it is so often completely over-looked.

     

    I have this discussion of the “big idea” with almost every client who comes through my branding course. I call it the “juju.” But essentially, I’m on the big idea boat with Todd. The “big idea” doesn’t ONLY apply to advertising copy. It applies to branding, in general.

     

    If you’re going to release your brand to the world, it needs to be based on something the world can quickly and easily understand – and then get behind.

     

    Most often, when I ask clients what’s unique or special about them, what they stand for, or what they’ll bring to the market, I get a generalization of what they DO:

     

    “I’m a health coach specializing in gut health.”

    “I’m a photographer, focusing on increasing self-esteem for women.”

    “I’m a jewelry designer who uses ceramic and metals.”

     

    These are all cool professions. They are not big ideas.

     

    This concept isn’t easy to wrap your head around, and I love to use Dr. Barry Sears as an example here, because he turned an everyday ordinary concept into a single big idea, and the world responded.

     

    That big idea? The Zone Diet:

     

    “The Zone Diet ™ will help you shed excess pounds, dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease, and improve your mental and physical performance while living a longer more fulfilling life.”

     

    If you visit the Zone Diet website and dig a little deeper into the explanation of Dr. Sears’s big idea, you’ll find a definition:

     

    “Balance your plate at every meal with one third protein, the size and thickness of your palm, two thirds colorful fruit and vegetable carbs, and a dash of fat.”

     

    Ummmm…. Did he just say, “Eat a balanced diet?”

     

    I’m pretty sure he did. And that’s not a big idea at all, is it? That’s just good “adulting,” as far as I’m concerned.

     

    Except that’s not EXACTLY what Dr. Sears said.

     

    What he said was, that if you eat this balanced diet, you’ll be… “In the Zone.”

     

    What happens “In the Zone?”

     

    According to Dr. Sears: “If you are in the Zone ™, you have optimized your ability to control diet-induced inflammation.”

     

    And here’s the best part: “This is a physiological state that can be MEASURED in clinical tests.”

     

    The Zone. ™ BAM.

     

    This was Dr. Sears big idea. And by any standard measure, his brand was a smashing success. He sold more than 2 million copies of his hardcover book, made the New York Times Best Sellers list, and was featured on TV shows just about everywhere. They called him the “diet guru.” He had an entire line of Zone-based nutritional products and supplements, as well.

     

    I was in my early 30’s when The Zone Diet books were flying off the shelves, and I had a friend who literally PREACHED about Balance Bars (the pre-packaged snack that got you right into The Zone.) He would buy them for me and hide them in my brief case, because he was so convinced that my day would blow up (in a good way) when I hit The Zone.

     

    So, why did this work? Why was Dr. Sears able to convince the world that a balanced diet was a novel concept?

     

    Let’s break it down, according to Todd Brown’s definition of the “single big idea.”

    1. Did it cut through the clutter? Fo sho. The Zone was on everyone’s lips.
    2. Was it arresting, compelling and interesting to consumers? Hell, yeah! You tell me: Would you  rather eat a balanced diet, or get into The Zone?
    3. Did Dr. Sears settle for a mediocre, run-of-the-mill message, like “I’m a doctor, and I know it’s good for you to eat a balanced diet because it reduces inflammation?” Nope. Dr. Sears did nothing of the sort. He wrestled with his concept, until he turned it into a big idea.

     

    I offer this as a challenge, for you and for your brand. What’s your big idea? How will you compel your prospects to act? How will you get folks to sit up, take notice, latch on, march behind you, sing your song, and shove your version of the Balance Bar into your co-worker’s mouth?

     

    It’s a lot to think about. But then again, it’s everything, isn’t it?

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  • Are You Denying Your Inner Chunky Monkey?
    01/03/17 Good Juju and Brands that Have It , How to Brand Your Juju , Personal Juju # , , , , ,

    Are You Denying Your Inner Chunky Monkey?

    Yesterday I had a wonderful question from a participant in Unforgettable U, my online branding program. In effect, she asked, “Juju, what if I tailor my branding and my message to a specific audience, and in doing so, I push away everyone else?”

     

    In essence, she asked, what if I limit my possibilities with my brand?

     

    I love this question, because it gets straight to the heart of truly powerful branding.

     

    Developing an effective brand is an act of bravery.

     

    It involves looking deeply inside yourself – and your business – to identify what you believe, what you stand for, and what you can bring to the world.

    It also involves looking deeply into the specific hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations of potential clients or customers.

    And most importantly, it involves making a promise that what you deliver will be designed to address those very hopes, dreams, fears and frustrations.

     

    When you do that, you’ll be a serious turn-on for a very specific group. Others will feel lukewarm about your promise or offers. While still others will be turned off, or entirely repelled.

     

    But there’s an important lesson in this:

     

    You will go further, faster, with a smaller group of raving, loyal fans who are committed to you and your message, than with an enormous group who could take it or leave it.

     

    Great branding is kind of like ice cream…

     

    Nearly everyone likes vanilla and chocolate ice cream. If you bring either of these to a birthday party, just about everyone will eat the cake – with the ice cream – and be fine. They may even be satisfied. But they’re not going to talk about the ice cream. They’re not going to say, “Oh, my God!! Who brought the vanilla?!! I love vanilla! I haven’t had vanilla in ages!”

     

    You feel me here, right? No one ever created a “moment” with vanilla ice cream.

     

    On the other hand, if you bring Chunky Monkey (Ben and Jerry’s banana ice cream with fudge chunks and walnuts), there will be folks in the crowd who RAVE over the ice cream. They will come back for second helpings. They will BOND with you over your ice cream choice. They will tell you stories about the first time they ever had Chunky Monkey and how they sneak away to eat it. They will make the most guttural sounds of delight and satisfaction as they lick their spoons and wink at you.

     

    Other people will look at you as though you are insane. They will say things like, “Banana ice cream with cake? Seriously??!! Whose idea was that? Why not just a simple vanilla or chocolate?”

     

    Now, here’s what you need to understand:

     

    You ARE Chunky Monkey. You were BORN Chunky Monkey. We’re ALL Chunky Monkey. Each of us, and each of our businesses, is chock full of DIFFERENCES. Quirks. Specialties. Back stories. Personality characteristics. Beliefs and values. Crazy combinations of FLAVORS!

     

    And If you search deeply enough, and show yourself completely enough, you will likely become polarizing. Some are gonna love ya. Others are gonna leave ya.

     

    You can pretend that you are not Chunky Monkey. You can pretend to be vanilla. Or chocolate. You can water down all the interesting flavors in the hope (which will undoubtedly go unfulfilled) that you will please everyone and offend no one.

     

    But you know what? No one will talk about you after the party.

    And the next time you meet the guests who thoughtlessly gobbled your vanilla… they won’t even remember you.

     

    So I invite you – I IMPLORE you – to get your Chunky Monkey on. To work toward ATTRACTING those who love your particular flavor. And to cater JUST to them. You’ll be narrowing your crowd for sure… but they’ll be telling everyone about your exquisite taste long after you’ve left the room.

     

    And if you want to learn more about attraction – more about how to BRING your Chunky Monkey to the party – meet me at a live webinar tomorrow morning (Thursday, 9:00 a.m. Pacific.) We’re going to talk about how to make your target audience LOVE and CRAVE you. Click here to register.

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  • A Relationship Coach Talks Business: An Interview with Yara Golden
    31/01/17 Uncategorized

    A Relationship Coach Talks Business: An Interview with Yara Golden

    As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we are — first and foremost — relationship-builders. For without our clients, and without our teams, we’re simply lonely folks with big dreams, shouting into big black holes.

    Last November, I had the divine pleasure of interviewing relationship coach and founder of Life on Purpose, Yara Golden. We talked about how our relationships in business are really no different than our relationships in “real life.”

    We talked about the “L” word. And why Yara believes that love is everything when it comes to our businesses.

    And we talked about having the courage to show ourselves completely, so that we may live our lives, and run our businesses, in accordance with our most deeply-held values and in alignment with true purpose.

    I am blessed to call Yara a friend. She makes me better.

    So I wanted to introduce the two of you. Listen to her message of love and power here.

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  • Conquering Goliath… With Intimacy
    26/01/17 How to Brand Your Juju # , , ,

    Conquering Goliath… With Intimacy

    On Monday there was a great post on BrandingStrategyInsider.com (one of my favorite places for super smart brand stuff) about how today’s small brands can win. The author, Mark DiSomma, talks a great deal about one of the positions that I hold near and dear to my heart:

     

    Branding is about intimacy. It’s about connecting with a consumer over things that really matter.

     

    And do you know what really matters?

     

    Not product features (they kinda matter). Not pricing (that kinda matters, too).

     

    What really matters is how people feel.

     

    The same things that are true in your real-life relationships hold true in your relationships with customers:

     

    • Common values are required for long-term connection.
    • Trust is essential.
    • Everyone wants to be recognized, heard, and respected.
    • And love conquers all.

     

    I love DiSomma’s language when he describes what a small brand must do in order to thrive and survive: it must “scale its empathy” and “maintain eye contact.”

     

    If you’re not looking directly into the eyes (and souls) of your prospects and customers, you’re missing out on your biggest opportunity for growth and long-term competitive advantage. 

     

    Read DiSomma’s post here. I’ll bet you find comfort in the fact that when big brands mistake visibility for effectiveness, it gives you a chance to move right in, and steal the girl (or boy).

     

    This is some seriously good juju.

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  • AC/DC and the Black Keys — Through a 50-Year-Old Audio Filter
    25/01/17 How to Brand Your Juju , Personal Juju , Uncategorized # , , ,

    AC/DC and the Black Keys — Through a 50-Year-Old Audio Filter

    Last Sunday night we barbecued a beautiful steak dinner – in the pouring rain – to share with a group of folks we love and cherish. Our gorgeous friend, Norm, who has been a Broadway performer for many years, encouraged our 15-year-old son, Christian, to bring his electric guitar downstairs to play for the group.

     

    Christian has only been playing guitar for about a year, and he’s not altogether comfortable with performing. But with Norm’s encouragement he became emboldened, and we were treated to some super cool riffs and some full-length songs, as Christian covered the Black Keys, Pink Floyd, the Violent Femmes, and AC/DC.

     

    While Christian played, each of us became lost in a different head space, while Norm looked on, fascinated. When Christian was finished, Norm praised him, and then said, “That was unbelievably cool. And the coolest thing about it was how each of you experienced it.”

     

    He went on to explain:

     

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  • A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #3: Spreading the Love
    18/01/17 How to Brand Your Juju , Uncategorized # , , , ,

    A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #3: Spreading the Love

    Most of us are pretty checked out on how to build love relationships. We begin by anxiously scheduling that first date. Then, over dinner, bowling, or Frisbee golf (depending on how cheap of a date we are), we share our hopes, dreams, beliefs, and values. If they jibe with our companion for the evening, we set that next date. Over time, we build a real relationship, based on the things we share.

     

    As it turns out, we’re not quite so checked out on how to build relationships with our customers. In fact, we often don’t even make it through the first date. That’s because we focus on the transaction; we’re 100% wrapped up in getting to “yes.” But when we convince someone to buy our product, download our content to opt in to our list, or sign up for our webinar, we’ve done nothing more than schedule that date. The part where we share beliefs and values, and build real connection? Screw that. We’ve already moved on to the next potential “yes.”

     

    Imagine what your love life would look like if you constantly scheduled dates, and then never really showed up. It would be a social shit show.

     

    Trust me, the same holds true with your business life. If you want to attract customers and keep them over the long-haul, you have to start thinking about what happens after the transaction. You have to show up, share, and connect.

     

    And one of the best ways to create real connections with your prospects and customers – the kind that lead to healthy, long-term relationships – is to utilize a Dream 100 strategy.

     

    With the Dream 100, you create a list of 100 influencers who share your beliefs and values. Then maximize those relationships to add value to the lives of your customers, followers, fans, or prospects.

     

    For the past two days, I’ve been going super deep into the Dream 100 strategy. First I introduced the what and why (click here to read that), and then I explained just how to provide value to your Dream 100, in order to get noticed (click here to read that).

     

    Today I want to talk about how to utilize the Dream 100 strategy to create lasting connections with your clients – about how to add real value to the lives of people you should care deeply about.

     

    7 Ways to Spread the Love Using Your Dream 100 Strategy

     

    1. Teach.

    Give a man a fish, blah, blah, blah… Teach a man to fish and yada yada. It’s the truth, my friend. You will create lasting and enduring relationships by empowering your audience through teaching. I’m doing it right now. I’m showing you how to do a thing. Step-by-step. Bit-by-bit. And here’s the super cool part: it’s not MY thing. I learned it from Russell Brunson (who’s in my Dream 100). And he learned it from Chet Holmes.

    I didn’t make this shit up. But I did put my own spin on it. I “private labeled” it with one of my deepest core beliefs: that true connection is created through shared values. Now, you can take these teachings, give credit to me and the greats who came before me, and pay them forward to your audience.

    The lessons you’ll provide will have an astounding effect on the recipients. Efficacy – the ability to produce a desired or intended result – is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. And giving is integral to the development of real relationships.

    Word to the wise: Don’t skip the “give credit” step when you share the teachings of your Dream 100. And if you’re sharing information that you bought from your Dream 100 – info that’s not available for free to the public – you need to get permission before you do so. Credit and permission are critical in order for the Dream 100 strategy to work. Aside from that, it’s illegal and slimy to plagiarize. So don’t even think about it.

     

     

    2. Curate.

    Curation is underrated. Don’t miss out on an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey tactic for real and lasting connection. What is curation? It’s the selection, collection and archiving of digital assets. In other words, you pick up stuff from your Dream 100, and you pass it on to your customers, holding it in a well-organized space (like your blog or a social page) for easy access.

    What’s the value in that? If I’m part of your audience, I don’t have to search all the hell over the place to get information on something that’s meaningful to me.

    Meaningful. That’s the ticket. Everything about my Dream 100 strategy links back to the concept that we create real connections by sharing values and beliefs. So, if you believe in clean oceans, you curate content about the cause. And when I hit your site, if I ALSO care about clean oceans (which makes us fast friends), I can find a bunch of stuff right there in one place, and I can sit back with a cold one, takin’ it all in.

    Here’s the best part: once I KNOW that you care about clean oceans, and once I know that you’re gonna curate good shit for me, I’ll keep coming back. ‘Cuz it’s easier for me to rely on you than to do it myself. And that means you’ve done me a big, fat, favor. BAM. Friends do favors for one another. Curation doesn’t rack up as many points as helping someone move, but it’s up there on the list.

     

    3. Motivate and Inspire.

    Sometimes I wonder if I’m good enough. There. I just said it out loud. When I have this feeling, I go out in search of motivation, inspiration, and validation. I go to women on my Dream 100 list, like Debbie Phillips of Women on Fire. Debbie lights me up. She lights up thousands of women. And because she does, I pay a membership fee, every month, to have access to her motivational goods.

    Debbie understands that by inspiring, motivating and validating me, she does me a service, and she creates a long-term relationship with me, rooted in shared values. I trust Debbie. I like Debbie. I agree with Debbie…. Debbie and me? We’re like THIS.

    Debbie is in my Dream 100. Who’s in her Dream 100? I can only imagine. Last month she interviewed Gloria Steinem. It was a “holy shit” moment for me. Gloria Steinem??? So, you see, Debbie is further along than me. Her Dream 100 is full of movers and shakers who operate in a whole different realm than I do. And she shares that with me. She lifts me up. She sets me straight. She provides me with the hope and confidence I need to see myself in that realm, too. She puts me on a trajectory for happiness and success.

    Use your Dream 100 to motivate your audience. Give them power. Give them hope. Lighten their loads. Brighten their days. Make them laugh. Make them cry. Share your successes, so they can see their own in the future.

     

    4. Entertain.

    My friends are super entertaining. I love their stories, their jokes, their viewpoints. Time just flies by when I’m hanging out with them. And I look forward to the next time I can see them or talk to them. I cherish them, in part because I associate them with such good times.

    If you’re going to make friends with your prospects and customers, they should feel the same way about you. So entertain them. Share things from your Dream 100 that fill their time in an easy and joyful way. Connect over something you like.  It doesn’t have to be goofy cat videos (Although it certainly can be. Who am I to say you shouldn’t have goofy cat video producers in your Dream 100?)

    Fun is, well… fun. So don’t take yourself, or your Dream 100 so seriously all the damn time.

     

    5. Enhance financial or personal wellness.

    One of my favorite wishes for people I love is, “Be well.” Wishing another well is the ultimate in values-based connection. It matters to me that the ones I love are well: financially, spiritually, physically, mentally. And you can easily pass on information from your Dream 100 to enhance wellness in the lives of those you love most: your customers.

    There are all kinds of ways to do this. Interview your Dream 100 members about their higher purpose or their beliefs, and pass the info along. Share best practices of your Dream 100. Show yourself, and your Dream 100, in real life. (Snap Chat is an amazing resource for this, by the way.) Create quick tips, advice, quotes, short stories… anything that will help your tribe to “be well.”

     

     

    This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it should certainly get you moving in the right direction.

    As you can see, sharing info from your Dream 100 facilitates real connections on so many levels. It elevates relationships. It moves you past the initial “yes” of the transaction, well into that first date, and far beyond.

    They say, “Sharing is caring.” And I find, very often, that THEY are some pretty smart cookies.

     

    If you’d like to work with me in creating your own Dream 100, and writing a strategic plan to positively influence their worlds and those of your prospects, reach out to me a julia@strategicjuju.com. I’ve got a package for you that’s an absolute dream.

     

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  • A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #2: Influencing the Influencers
    17/01/17 How to Brand Your Juju # , , , ,

    A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #2: Influencing the Influencers

    Have you ever felt used? You know the kind of relationship I’m talking about. You meet someone, and they want something from you. Sometimes they’ll hit you up straight-away. Other times they’ll beat around the bush and attempt to manipulate you into giving them what they want by feigning interest or promising something that will likely never materialize. This is the old-school approach to “networking.” And for the most part, it just feels sleazy.

     

    Yesterday I introduced the concept of the Dream 100 (click here to check that out): a strategy of creating relationships with 100 influencers and thought-leaders, with the long-term goal of promoting your beliefs and values to your own prospects and customers.

     

    Today I want to talk about how you can positively influence those influencers. And while it may seem tempting to use them for your benefit, resisting that temptation and creating a win-win will be critical in establishing enduring connections.

     

    So, once you’ve created your Dream 100 list, how do you connect?

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  • A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #1: What and Why
    16/01/17 Uncategorized # , , , ,

    A Crash Course in the Dream 100. Lesson #1: What and Why

    “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
    — John Lennon

     

    Everything about brands that transcend – and businesses that remain in business – is connected to connection. We no longer live in an economy driven by transaction. Today, our economy is driven by experience. And no experience is richer, more fulfilling, or more apt to lead to a next experience than one that includes REAL connection through shared values.

     

    If I believe what you believe, I wanna hang out with you, man. If you believe what I believe, you’ll be singin’ my song by morning. If we bond over what we both feel is true and right, it beats a pinky swear by a clear mile.

     

    Over the course of several days last week, I talked in broad strokes and specifics about how to connect with prospects and customers by sharing your values and beliefs. (If you missed those posts, you can catch the last of them, which includes links to all three, by clicking here.) And one of the specifics I mentioned was the cultivation of a Dream 100 list.

     

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  • Manifesto and the Magic of Connection
    13/01/17 Uncategorized

    Manifesto and the Magic of Connection

    Over the past couple of days, I’ve been talking about how your values and your beliefs can become the strongest differentiator for your business and your brand.

     

    I first outlined the danger that Mike Weisman of the Values Institute so aptly described as “capsizing in the sea of sameness,” that arises when we set out to differentiate our businesses solely on pricing or product features. (And how you can avoid that through a values-driven approach to business and branding.) If you missed that, you can read it here.

     

    Yesterday, I discussed how giving your customers something to believe in leads to enduring connections. And I provided Six Ways to Communicate Your Beliefs to Your Customers and Prospects to Facilitate True Connection. 

     

    And today I want to introduce you to the first and most powerful of those six forms of communication: the manifesto.

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  • Give ‘Em Something to Believe In
    12/01/17 How to Brand Your Juju # , , ,

    Give ‘Em Something to Believe In

    Yesterday on the blog, I talked about motive. More specifically, the underlying reason you jumped into business in the first place… beyond the cha-ching. If you missed that piece, you can read it here.

     

    In short, customers don’t bond with companies. Customers bond with ideals, beliefs, values, and world views.

     

    If you want to form real connections (and believe me, if you want your business to be sustainable, you want to form real connections), it’s not enough to get clear on your motives and beliefs. You also have to articulate them clearly to the world. And you need to communicate consistently, over time, so folks will come to see what you stand for, and that you’re seriously committed to it.

     

    One of the benefits of values-based connections that’s so often overlooked by business owners is the personal joy and fulfillment that comes as a result of working for a higher purpose. It’s one thing to have great sales numbers. It’s another to change lives or start a ripple in the world.

     

    Wanna jump out of bed every morning? Put yourself in a situation where you’re consistently serving others or serving the planet. And then spread the word.

     

    6 Ways to Communicate Your Beliefs to Your Customers and Prospects – to Facilitate True Connection

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