Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Putting your Best Foot Forward

I warmly remember preparing for vocal performances as a high schooler and later as a college student. Outside of the involving voice warm-ups and multilingual memorizing, preparation also meant having a solid plan for the logistics and the aesthetics of our appearance and of the show itself. Our instructors laid out protocol for entering and exiting the stage, presence, stance, all the way down to how we should wear our hair. Specifically in our town's show choir, (think "Glee"  but with less diversity and more sequins) we had to sing on one accord and appear as uniformly as we could in costume and tone. The boys wore cummerbunds that matched the girls' dresses, and all of the girls wore suntan tights. I won't ever forget the "flesh" toned character shoes - tan pumps that the girls labored in as we practiced our singing and dancing routines.

During one particular dress rehearsal, a visiting instructor from the local university strapped on a pair of those band-aid colored shoes and pranced out onto the stage, demonstrating to us best practices of approaching center stage by leading with our outside foot and bringing confident energy with us so that it reflected out to the audience.  The unusual thing was that the heel-strutting instructor was the straight, male father of a choir mate and he was willing to give up some degree of masculinity to show us girls how it's done! His lesson for us then was that even the most simple action like walking to our places on stage, required planning. The extended lesson for anyone who seeks advisement in planning for branding, reputation management, or general public relations counsel is that real managers, instructors, advisers, etc will always make sure that you are putting your best foot forward in whatever you produce!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tips for Branding your Global Business

Deciding how to showcase your global brand is challenging. The Made in America movement is an important commercial campaign, but it certainly does not mean the demand for foreign products and services will end. Here are five things to keep in mind as you develop your foreign brand for U.S. customers:

1. Products or services that are thought of as plain (think parts manufacturing or money wiring) need names that are interesting and that evoke more pleasurable experiences to distinguish from other other ordinary products.

2. Align your brand with regional tastes. There is no need to relinquish the basic mission of the company behind your brand, nevertheless, ensure that your brand conveys messages that are compatible with the values of the region to which you're selling.

3. When you use a name that is not American in origin, it's not necessary for the name to be simple to say, but it needs to be easy to remember.

4. If you are offering a product for which country is world-renowned (tea, metals) then make sure your brand demonstrates that. Leverage U.S. warranty and packaging standards as competitive bases.

5. If your product consists of different parts, regulations that require country source identification have an immediate effect on your items. As you put your product together, make sure your product's perceived quality matches that of the parts of which it is made.

For additional assistance with global branding, please post a comment or send a message.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The American Music Awards 2011: Extreme Stardom versus Music Artistry

Tonight the 2011 American Music Awards appear on ABC. While I think there have been some - eh hmm - challenges with what we call music artistry these days, I still get excited to watch the artists, catch snippets of songs I like, and cringe (empathize with, even?) from the awkward moments that seem to invite themselves to awards shows like the AMAs. Having resigned myself to the fact that egregious costumes are undeniably tied to awards nominations and album sales, we've got to accept extreme stardom for what it is. It certainly isn't a new phenomenon. Think of artists like George Clinton, Annie Lennox, Grace Jones.  I can appreciate those marketing tactics, or even categorize them as stage and costume artistry, but I appreciate more the artists (and their advisers) who can create the attention they deserve by leading with their musical talent and relationship building with their audiences. The latter equates to lasting and reinvention-friendly entertainment careers.