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At Entrepreneurs Club with Dr. Andy Czuchry.

At Entrepreneurs’ Club with Dr. Andy Czuchry

Last evening I had the honor of returning to the classroom where I was an MBA student 13 years ago. Thanks to the magic of wimba (a college software program that  allows classroom “broadcasting” ) the Entrepreneurship Club at ETSU was seen live by students in Austria, Texas and Washington State.  Andy Czuchry, “Dr. C” as we all fondly called him, taught us many things about the real world of business. A real-life rocket scientist, he  combined theory and practice by bringing entrepreneurs to the classroom. They taught us the way things really are in the business world. One of Dr C’s favorite expressions is how I began my presentation: “An entrepreneur would rather work 80 hours a week for himself than 40 hours a week for someone else.” Anyone reading this who is an entrepreneur knows that to be true. But there is something incredibly exhilarating about the freedom that comes with being self employed that can’t be replicated. So we’re willing to tolerate the crazy hours because of that trade off.

Here are a few more tips I shared with the Entrepreneurs’ Club students:

Pitfalls:

You can’t do it all- You need to start making teams right away and joining forces with others. Work on what you do well and look for skill sets in others to compliment yours. It’s fine to start with virtual teams (for me it was twitter and some important tweet chat groups) but stay connected. No one can operate well as an island.

Don’t rely on third party hosts- Always host your own web site and put your videos on channels you host. I learned this the hard way after a multi-part series I created for WJHL-TV called “Social Media 101” literally vanished when they changed servers. I shudder when I watch some business people use Facebook as their personal web site. Facebook (and your product photos) could be gone tomorrow.

Create Systems-  I suggested the book the E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber to the group. This fascinating book points out the need to put systems into place no matter how small the company is. My current intern, Emma Brock, is developing the first-ever MarketingMel intern manual and Sarah Kinsler (who created the prezi and shared some of her MarketingMel experiences with the class) is creating an associates manual. I’m working on client intake systems.

Smart moves:

Know your personal mission as well as your company mission and vision and refer back to those often. They will direct your path.

Surround yourself with bright, young people (Both Sarah and Emma are a God-send to me)- They will keep you on your toes and give you energy.

Create an Advisory Board- This year I have six, sharp members of the community whom I trust to give me advice and to let me know if I have “broccoli in my teeth.”

Form business partnerships: I became a business partner with the Summit Leadership Foundation shortly after beginning my business. I give them a monthly contribution and then I am able to use their space without the overhead of a traditional office. Both organizations help each other out.

Set Goals and Plan Ahead: Throughout this month I’ll be working on my 2014 strategic plan. Some of those goals include: Following the Tennessee Performance Excellence Standards, becoming a certified “woman owned business” and publishing my E-book. My final thoughts were also words of wisdom from Dr. C. “Under-promise and over deliver” and “Be a lifelong learner.”  What’s on your Pitfalls and Smart moves lists?

 

 

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Some time ago I wrote a blog post on finding a job in public relations that was by far MarketingMel’s most re-tweeted blog post. Last week I had the opportunity to take part in a panel discussion called “Communications Expectations: Real World Perspectives from Professional Communicators” sponsored by ETSU PRSSA. The students compiled the following list of the questions for self and four other P.R. pro’s (Amanda Allman and Samara Litvack of Eastman, Ginny Crispin from the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, and Jim Wozniak of Wellmont Health System.) I hope if you are a student interested in the field of public relations that you will find these answers useful. If you’re a practicing PR pro please jump in and add your own experiences!

MarketingMel with other panelists and PRSSA students.

MarketingMel with other panelists and ETSU PRSSA students.

 

  1.  How did you all get your start in this field? For me it was an internship at a TV news station (WKBW Channel 7) in Buffalo, NY. I highly recommend internships to any college student studying P.R.
  2. With a large pool of talented students to choose from, what makes a student stand out to employers? Showcase your personality and your skill set of writing and communicating. Show them that you have a willingness to learn new things and to adapt. Public Relations is all about adapting and thinking on your feet.
  3. What is the most valuable skill a student can possess? To me it’s a positive attitude. Being both an excellent communicator with both the written word and the spoken word would be a close second. 
  4. What is the best way to get the most out of an internship? A few ideas that I discussed with my young associate Sarah Kinsler are: Get involved, Be willing to learn, Listen and Soak up as much as you can. Showing a willingness to learn foreign languages and visit other countries is important too. It shows you have a spirit of adventure and that goes hand in hand with our profession. 
  5. What information on a resume is most important? One of my co-panelists answered this and mentioned that even experience that you think might not be important like waiting tables really means a lot to a future employer. It shows you know how to deal with the public and widely changing moods. The subject of crisis communications came up here and the fact that waiting tables teaches you to remain cool under pressure.
  6. What is the best advice for branding yourself in this competitive world? Personal branding is imperative because it is all about how others perceive you both online and in the real world. Remember your brand travels with you long after you’ve left a job. For more information watch the free personal branding webinar I created with Maria Peagler at www.personalbrandinghowto.com.
  7. What advice do you have for students who wish to find jobs in communication in larger areas, where they may not have established connections? My co-panelists who’ve lived and worked in larger markets mentioned the importance of networking.
  8. What can you tell us about successfully handling interviews? Be yourself. Be authentic but think about the person interviewing you. Recently I heard of a young man taking his girlfriend along with him to a job interview and allowing her to do all the talking for him. Really? Also, depending on the position you may want to leave out the eyebrow and nose rings and gages and cover the tattoos. I’m still hearing from baby boomer employers who have a hard time seeing past the gadgets and boomers are often the executives/owners. 
  9. When an employer says, ‘tell me about yourself’, what are they looking for? This is your chance to shine. Show self-confidence. Show not only that you know about the company but show how you will bring value to the employer. Remember, ultimately it is always WIIFM (what’s in it for me, the employer in this case.) 
  10. What advice can you offer to students who are anxious about finding jobs after graduation? Stick with it! My first job was a part time position. Even part time experience in your chosen profession is far better than none at all. 
  11. What is the best part about your job? I’ve reached a stage in my career where I can use my skill set to give back to others. Right now I am enjoying spreading the word to help homeless people get socks in our region. I was influenced by Kid President’s YouTube video pronouncing #Socktober as a time for local communities to gather socks and so far we’ve already gathered over 100 pairs of socks (goal of 500 pairs) and our campaign goes until Thanksgiving! 

What experiences do you have to add?

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Joe Grenny with Mary Ellen of MarketingMel along with Roan Scholars Lucas Hitechew and Matthew Pencarinha.

Joe Grenny with Mary Ellen of MarketingMel and Roan Scholars Lucas Hitechew and Matthew Pencarinha.

I recently had the good fortune to hear best-selling author Joe Grenny speak on his latest book: Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change. Grenny said that “the most important capacity you possess is the ability to influence behavior- that of yourself or others.” He and his team studied top influencers around the world. He said what makes them stand apart from the rest of us comes down to three things:

1- They start with results. They ask the question: How will I measure success?

2- They look for the vital behaviors- What one or two behaviors will cause the greatest change?  Key influencers only want to change one, two or at most three behaviors.

3- They exert intentional influence- Influencers never see another person as having moral defects, being lazy or self-centered. Instead they see them in a moment of “moral slumber.” “Individual humans are capable of profoundly transforming their experience of almost any behavior by anchoring it to deeply held values,” said Grenny. “Put a face on it.”

He said that we hold meetings to influence behavior and he talked about the power of starting a meeting with this phrase” “Can I share an experience I recently had?”  and then telling a story that creates a vicarious experience for the listeners.

Interestingly he said that if you lead with incentives you undermine because people quickly learn to game the system. Grenny said leaders rehearse and invest in ability first through “deliberate practice.” First- become a teacher- then be a movtivator second. He used this video of a 10 year old girl heading down her first long ski jump.

Now that’s an inspiration! I bought the book Influencer and am already half way through it. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in change and influence. The Executive Briefing on “The New Science of Leading Change” was sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company and ETSU College of Business & Technology.

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SMAC headerHow do you feel about Facebook, twitter or LinkedIn? In control or overwhelmed? Either way and whether you’re in a small business or a large corporation, if you’re interested in today’s digital media we’ve got an event for you! WJHL-TV news anchorman Josh Smith will be one of the five great panelists who will take part in the inaugural #SMAC13 social media event featuring the Tri-Cities’ region’s leading journalists and communicators. They’ll be discussing how they use social media in their day to day life as professional communicators and the trends they are seeing. Josh will join ETSU’s Jennifer Clements, Wellmont’s Eric Vaughn, Johnson City Press journalist Becky Campbell and Eastman’s Rachel Cain in a panel discussion that I will moderate. If you haven’t already made plans to be at the Venue in downtown Johnson City, Thursday, September 19 from 11:30 AM- 1 PM our numbers are growing rapidly so please RSVP on the PRSA Facebook page now. This has been an amazing collaboration between three great groups of communicators in our region: The Northeast Tennessee Chapters of Ad Club, Society of Professional Journalists and PRSA. Please see this short video (less than a minute) interview I had with Josh Smith (a natural ham.) Josh was kind enough to do this promotion for #SMAC13! Please pass this along to friends who may be interested. Will you be joining us?

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SMAC header

Tri-Cities PRSA, Ad Club, SPJ Team up for #SMAC13

I’m so excited about this upcoming event I wanted to share it with you, my dear blog readers! For the first time ever we’ve gathered three fantastic groups of communicators together to produce what’s going to be one great event!

The Tri-Cities Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, along with Greater Tri-Cities Pro Chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists and The American Advertising Federation of Northeast Tennessee will host Social Media and Communicators, #SMAC13, a discussion on navigating the ever-changing social landscape, Thursday, September 19, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Venue in the King building in downtown Johnson City, 300 East Main Street, Suite 200.

This inaugural event will feature the region’s leading journalists and corporate communicators as they discuss how social media plays a role in news gathering, public relations, advertising and our everyday lives. The speakers will take part in an informative panel discussion about this sometimes controversial and often misunderstood medium.

Panelists will be Josh Smith of WJHL, Rachel Cain of Eastman Chemical Company, Becky Campbell of the Johnson City Press, Jennifer Clements of East Tennessee State University and Eric Vaughn of Wellmont Health System.  I have the honor of serving as moderator.

“#SMAC 13 will provide an excellent opportunity for communications professionals to share best practices and for the public to learn more about the rapidly growing field of social media,” said Jim Wozniak, president of Tri-Cities PRSA. “We have assembled a tremendous panel and moderator who are on the cutting edge of social media developments, we are grateful to have such wonderful partners in SPJ and AAF who have helped develop a first-rate event.”

Audience members will be encouraged to participate in the conversation and send questions before the panel starts – via Twitter using the hashtag #SMAC13. Even if you can’t join us live please tweet us some questions in advance and we’ll do our best to work them in!

The cost to attend is $15 for PRSA and SPJ members, $25 for business professionals and $10 for students with valid student ID and it includes lunch provided by Cranberries. Attendance fee and lunch is included with Ad Club membership.   RSVP is required for this event as seating will be limited.

For more information about the event or to learn how you can get involved, please visit the #SMAC 13 Facebook event page at Facebook.com/Tri-CitiesPRSA or email .

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The following is a guest blog post by  ETSU associate professor in the Department of Communication and MarketingMel board member, Dr. Stephen Marshall. 

Delivering value to clients is the ultimate brand challenge.

Delivering value to clients is the ultimate brand challenge.

As an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University I am blessed to teach some of the best and brightest in our region. In the professional and academic world, learning is a continuous process. The speed of communication technology demands constant learning and adapting.

Part of my continuous learning formula is to engage with clients and organizations; applying my knowledge and skills to stay sharp while providing value. I do this because I strive to deliver value to my students and professionally grow. My work with professionals moves me from academic armchair quarterbacking directly into the game. Working at Creative Energy as well as with great professionals like MarketingMel keeps me fresh and keeps ideas flowing. Whether it is in the classroom or in the boardroom, I am always focused on delivering value. But what is value?

Merriam-Webster defines value in numerous ways but the particularly applicable Merriam-Webster value definition states value is “relative worth, utility, or importance.” In marketing terms, there are numerous theories supported by hundreds of analyses of value. (I won’t bore you with them.) The most basic theme in marketing is value = benefit/cost.

Benefit examples = information, entertainment, utility, status

Cost examples = time, effort, financial

In terms of interpersonal communication, we deliver value during conversation quite naturally. (In fact, value is the sole reason you engage in any exchange!) For example, when you have a conversation with someone, you want to engage her or him in the discussion. You do so by finding the voice and content that will create the right engaging message. The right choices enable you to deliver communication value in the exchange. To illustrate… would you speak with your mother the same way you speak with your best friend? Further, the more value exchanged, the longer the conversation. Conversations end when the cost of continuing is higher than the benefit.

The key to any successful communication is to deliver value to the receiver. My students know “create value with your communication” as my classroom mantra. Successful businesses create value for their customers through their products or services. The center of any brand (product, service, idea or individual as you have learned from Marketing Mel) is the value promise of the brand. In today’s digital communication space, brands are able to deliver additional value (continuing the value promise) in their communication and measure impact more accurately.

For businesses, defining value in communication can be complex. Strategy is the key to defining, creating and evaluating. Creating value strategy means significantly understanding objectives, audience(s) and creating content that will deliver value. Delivering value should be the core of your communication strategy. How does this happen for a brand?

  1. Know your business goal and objectives
  2. Understand your audience (know your key influencers)
  3. Create digital content that will deliver on the brand promise (extend brand value)
  4. Define key performance indicators (KPIs) enabling evaluation of progress

The key to swimming in “big data” is to define the KPIs in your planning. This allows you to benchmark, set goals, understand audience flow, evaluate, and optimize. From an organizational standpoint, determining the influential KPIs aligned with organizational outcomes is the only way to move from descriptive data to data providing inference.

Extending brand value in communication efforts often means utilizing social media. All too often I hear folks, even professionals say, “let’s make a Facebook page.” While social media is important, it is often used inappropriately. Social media efforts must be aligned with brand value.

This means the social channel and content must match the proper audience. Further, content and channel must be maintained appropriately. Huge mistakes will be made if you think of media without considering all the other previously discussed steps.

In summary, knowing your audience and delivering brand value on a continuous basis is the key to brand loyalty. The digital space allows brands to extend their value into their communication. Brands should use the digital space to extend and measure their brand value.

About the Author:

swm blackwhite

Stephen W. Marshall PhD, was educated at the University of Florida. He is a former employee of Nielsen. Dr. Marshall focuses on opportunities bridging academics and industry. His research interests include qualitative and quantitative audience measurement, branding and mass communication in a digital space. He is an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University, a Research Analyst at Creative Energy and a member of MarketingMel’s board of advisors. Connect with him via Linkedin or by email at marshalls [at} etsu.edu.

 

 

 

 

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Happy National Small Business Week from the  MarketingMel team!

Happy National Small Business Week from the MarketingMel team!

Editor’s note: It’s National Small Business Week! If you are a small business person, take time to celebrate your success as the backbone of our country. The following is a guest blog with tips on books for small businesses from Strategic Priorities’ Consulting President (and avid reader) Rebecca Henderson. 

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, especially small business.  Without effective marketing, the business withers and dies, like an plant without water.  Networking and superior customer service are the linchpins of effective marketing.

The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence by Robert Spector and Patrick McCarthy pretty much sets the standard for customer service.   Years ago, I read Susan RoAne’s How To Work a Room.  It’s is essential for honing conversational skills for effective networking.

Another book I read years ago is What They Didn’t Teach You at Harvard Business School  by Mark McCormack;  the advice is timeless,  and teaches all sorts of things you didn’t realize you didn’t know.  Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership is a must-read for any small business; pay close attention to the chapter devoted to marketing.

Word of mouth marketing is the most effective marketing.  The Anatomy of Buzz :  How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing by Emanuel  Rosen is a great book that tells you how to do just that. Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham is filled with examples that I love.

Harvey Mackay has many roles;  three of them are marketer,  networker,  and author.   One of Mackay’s books I particularly like is The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World;  it’s fabulous, as are all of his books.  Take the Stairs by Rory Vaden is filled with gems of great wisdom, which can be applied to your personal and professional life.

We don’t usually think of management and marketing as hand-in-hand, but they do .  Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic by Leonard Berry and Kent Seltman is very informative.  Pay close attention to the last half of the book.

What are some of your favorite marketing books? Please add to our list!

Rebecca Henderson

Rebecca Henderson

Rebecca Henderson has an M.S. in Community Leadership from Duquesne University.  Rebecca loves strategic planning, organizational development, and “geeky things” like bylaws and parliamentary procedure.  Her company, Strategic Priorities Consulting, specializes in helping clients grow from where they are to where they want to go.  She is currently working on a book about being an effective leadership level community influencer. On a personal level, Rebecca is an active member of her church and Rotary Club, Vice Chair of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians,  loves to read, and is “Mom” to her five Newfoundlands.

 

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Editor’s note: This is a guest blog post written by MarketingMel associate and recent ETSU public relations graduate Sarah Kinsler. 

College graduates: MarketingMel's 2012-2013 intern Kristen Pierce with MarketingMel associate Sarah Kinsler.

College graduates: MarketingMel’s 2012-2013 intern Kristen Pierce with MarketingMel associate Sarah Kinsler.

As a recent public relations graduate, I entered the workforce excited and eager to take on the PR world by storm. However I soon realized there is much more to Public Relations than what is taught in the classroom.  During one of my first official client meetings I found myself at a rush to write an on the spot release and pitch it to the local media. I remember thinking, “Wait, this isn’t how I learned PR.” I soon came to the realization that the “due dates” for a release and planned timelines, were no longer part of my PR ways.

While I do think I learned some valuable skills during my college career, I feel you cannot fully comprehend applied public relations without being thrown into the real deal. I have narrowed down my top three tips in adapting to the “real” world of PR.

1.   Sharpen your Writing:

Train yourself to write quickly, yet effectively and clearly.  Many times you will be caught in situations that forces you to write on the spot. Make sure you have the ability to provide sufficient details in a timely manner.

2.   Stay Calm in Stressful Circumstances

PR can be very stressful, don’t allow yourself to get frazzled. Use your youth as a positive and keep your cool.

 3.   Be Open to Learning New Things and Getting Advice

Lets face it, you are a newbie, but the good news is there are lots of people that want to help you succeed! Be open to their advice and ask questions. Some of your best resources are closer than you think!

4.   Network Network Network

Being in the PR world means meeting lots of people. Between events, meetings, and clients you will have a plethora of opportunities to establish new professional relationships. Take advantage of this and be sure to follow up with new contacts! You never know who can help you in the future.

5.   Always Present your Best Work

You will often find yourself working on unsupervised projects. Don’t freak, you can do this! Just remember that you should always present quality work because it’s a reflection on you and your company. If your boss assigns you to a solo project, they trust that you can do it. Make sure to put forth your best effort and meet deadline!

Sarah Kinsler is a member of the MarketingMel team and creates marketing, public relations and social media strategies for clients. She is a December 2012 graduate of ETSU where she studied public relations. Her dream job would be to work in Nashville in country music PR.

Sarah Kinsler

Sarah Kinsler

 

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