This is one of those topics in which EVERYONE...and EVERYONE IN MARKETING has an opinion. And, just about everyone is correct because there are a lot of ways to approach branding. But, there are some universal truths which is why we are smashing branding and story-telling together this week. Some people say that story-telling IS the brand and the only way to brand. Others say that the brand IS the story. It's not that the egg comes before the chicken or the chicken is before the egg...it is that the chicken and the egg really are the same species. As with all things in the speed of this world...it's a complicated mess. Unpacking it is easiest if we think of it as an ACTIVE PROCESS and just get into it...hence, the photo we chose. Tough to get more active than her determined look to get where she needs to go.
Branding and story-telling week!!! We wanted to share some big picture sections of this for two reasons. First, we want to help you see and understand parts of the larger process. And, second, by breaking this down a little but not to the micro-task level, you can examine and assess where you are at in the process. We are very big proponents of assess, improve, assess the improvements, adjust, refine, and so on for continuous improvement. It is really hard to do that if you don't have a way to take stock and make some sense out of the chaos.
That leads us to a starting foundation: Branding work need not be chaos! Let's start "simple"...take stock of your assets and collateral materials: Logo, graphic, images, font, colors, taglines, common language, hashtags, keywords, SEO identifiers, print materials, description paragraphs, etc....the list can be long. THEN, you can organize this into categories. What "goes together" and what begins to be a package that points in the direction of a CONSISTENT package that you can use. CONSISTENCY is the first thing we want to focus on and then begin to grab ATTENTION while further PRACTICING that consistency. Then it is easy to add, develop, and enhance that collateral for deeper use. From that foundation of BRAND CONSISTENCY, you can move to BRAND AWARENESS work, BRAND INTEREST work, BRAND DESIRE work, and BRAND ACTION work. Finally, if you plan a continuing and evolving BRAND CONNECTION structure, you strengthen all of the pieces and parts while working your system. In essence, you are adding grease to the part needed for a smooth running brand "engine". (You can tell....we are not "car and mechanic" language people. We probably should stick to architecture analogies.)
We like to share in our journey in order to provide an example in practice. Branding is a big task...and damn, it is fun. There are so many options and opportunities, so it can be overwhelming. We also have numerous ideas and that can lead to "squirrel adventures" and and habitats like "rabbit holes" (now we move on to ecology analogies). So, we have to practice coming back to these principles ourselves. When we started Lioness Creative, it was an adventure in agility and now, we are narrowing that and solidifying the strongest niches and building structures for growth in those areas. This is like ALL businesses and nonprofits. And, it is the adventure of the branding process. For us, it had to begin with the "taking stock" process we are urging you to do...and then establishing things we can be consistent with. And, for us, it began with consistent creation and sharing on Facebook. Daily posts for 6 days a week was the goal. Now we are structuring what that looks like and designing the weekly themes with more intention to fit the niches we want to grow. We also are working on how other platforms can "fit into" that consistency. Simultaneously, we are refining that package of collateral. We have our logo, colors, preferred fonts, images....and many of the things. We are working on consistent and simple language. We challenge you to focus on this area as well. Most companies/organizations need the most help in this arena as we want to use more words rather than less....BUT our attention spans are about less rather than more. In a world that craves simplicity, WE ALL CAN IMPROVE THIS AREA.
SO....THIS is our focus through the week on our social platforms. We want to discuss branding and story-telling...and we will hit on each of the branding areas we mentioned.
CALL TO ACTION: We so believe in setting you on the path to ACT, so your next step to focus on is the big takeaway. The most important take away THIS MOMENT is to take stock and find a way to begin attention getting + consistency. And, then come along for the ride. (Oh, shoot...another car reference....[sigh]....let's go with "walk alongside and enjoy the stroll".)
Today, we posted a recording of our ASK AMY & BRIAN vlog and podcast focusing on using social media. Many businesses large and small have went through the process of calibrating and recalibrating their use of social media. We are not any different and we do the same processes for ourselves in addition to doing that with our clients. We are very focused on sharing information to help ignite you in being a stronger business, nonprofit, etc. We are also very focused on making this process not chaotic or painful. It "should" also have a "fun" factor.
In addition, I thought a little follow up would be helpful with some action items and things to think about. Here is a conversational TO DO list that is really more about thinking through HOW you do things and your fit. Rather than a step by step list, we instead want you to think, observe, and assess. What things are you doing, doing well, or could do better...that's all. Start by being aware and begin to set the stage for wrapping up the end of this year in a strong manner and launching into the next year even stronger with your social presence. You can listen; you can watch; or you can read...Just get started!
Check out a spreadsheet for planning and tracking AND the follow up video. Enjoy!
WE ARE BACK!!!
Greetings from Amy from Lioness Creative LLC and Brian of ConnectLabs!!! Today we talk about the use of social media, engagement, and community. We talk about how we have used it and our strategy now as well as your feed, and giving creative credit. As always, we bring the energy and an interesting take on the material. Join us...and ask any question you have about business, business development, marketing, creative problem solving, strategy, and more...we are happy to answer them as we tackle topics each week.
Check out our ALL of our connections:
Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/LionessCreat...
LinkedIn page at: https://www.linkedin.com/company/lion...
YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/channel/UCbGWKgyM...
Greetings this wonderful entrepreneurial day from Amy L. Nash from Lioness Creative, LLC and Brian Larry of ConnectLabs!!!
Today we talk about data and value. As always, we bring the energy and an interesting take on the material. Join us...and ask any question you have about business, business development, marketing, creative problem solving, strategy, and more...we are happy to answer them as we tackle topics each week.
Check out the other videos on our YouTube Channel too.
And our podcast on Soundcloud at: https://soundcloud.com/user-254132296/s1e1-data-and-value-mp3
AND...make sure to Like our Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/LionessCreativeLLC
Joining forces with fellow entrepreneur, Brian Larry of ConnectLabs, we are starting a weekly recording! We are calling it "ask Amy and Brian" in which you can ask us anything business, entrepreneurial, community, personal development...or the grind. We are open to talking and sharing about anything...all with positive energy, enthusiasm, and our real selves. Check it out...this is our first one and we are taking questions.
The video is available on our YouTube Channel at: https://lnkd.in/emi2Ydu
And, you can check it out podcast-style on our SoundCloud: https://lnkd.in/eSYpeSy
Visit our Facebook Page at: https://lnkd.in/etCwnm2
TECHNOLOGY TUESDAY - this is our day to share techy stuff...Today, we talk about project management tools and platforms:
There are many directions we can go with technology and today, we would like to talk project management. This means lots of things to lots of people. And, the organization of it can take different forms…or at least be displayed different ways no matter what the tool. Let’s talk about this first.
Kanban Boards: Picture a brainstorming session in which you move post-it notes into columns to organize flow and process. We can easily see this and get a feel for moving things around and being in the moment and “figuring it out”. THIS is similar to a kanban board and can be organization of tasks, roles, etc. and the columns can be projects. You really can make this whatever you need to in order to get some flow to your process. This is a great way to start.
Once you have a Kanban board, it is helpful to assign tasks and parts and give them dates and deadlines. This will ensure that you set your structure in motion. It is like you build the frame and shell of a machine and when you add the people and time as the engine, the machine begins to move. Movement is work and if paired with accountability, progress then starts taking shape. Many project management tools let you take a Kanban board and turn it into a list with assignments and time simply with a click and changing the view.
It is then helpful to use other visual displays like a calendar view or a Gantt chart to show where you may have bottlenecks in time or opportunities. Once the design, descriptions, dates, and people are in place, these just give different visuals. I happen to love Gantt charts. They are what we often see in construction and show each trade and when they start and stop on a project. This can be adapted to any kind of project, team, contract, or group.
Now for tools…I use one paid tool and two free versions (although I will likely be upgrading one of these). I use Asana as my master PM tool. I design processes in projects for my internal work in the process that I just shared. I can see it in all visual formats. Asana has a fast learning curve and has really good integrations with other standard platforms. It has great templates to start with and you can customize quickly. It’s “friendly” overall and if you use it daily and work your system, you will get a great rhythm to your workflow.
I use something similar called Click-up for the portions of the project that clients need and each project can be shared individually so that I can give the client access to their folder which allows them to see our plan, Kanban board, list view. Calendar, and gantt chart. It works just like sharing in Google Drive (if you are familiar) and you can give a link.
I use Trello as my own brainstorming and process development board as I work through how I want to design my own processes. Then I can make it a real workable process in Asana. I like Trello for the simple “vision” board style of engagement as a thinking tool. This is the one that I may upgrade as it can transfer a really good process into Asana for immediate use and work.
Integrations…Trello and Asana have integrations with each other and other programs. Clickup has a number of native integrations as well as some automatic import options. They are quickly growing and adapting and I just recently connected Clickup and Asana so that I can have two layers of project work…Internal and external. This plans for growth and utilizes efficiency from day one.
BUT….I had to research. I had to look at a ton of programs and decide how I wanted to use them. I am so visual, so I needed to take a look at what they “looked” like in addition to function and make sure that I can work with it quickly, efficiently, and just make it happen. If it was complicated, cumbersome, not connecting well, or simply ugly…it was out. And, I quickly found that there were a TON of options, which was fun, and A LOT to process.
ADVICE TO START: I would start with this article from 1/1/2020 byThe Digital Project Manager website. https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/best-project-management-software/ It is filled with links in its list AND it also has links to the right in the article that are specific to the type of work needing to be accomplished. It will help you narrow your search. I found far more platforms than the ones I settled on as options. I also balanced cost in the mix and that is individual for everyone. I wanted platforms that will grow with me and my business and MANY do this well. The point is to find something you like and will use and design your process…then manage it.
We will share more on specific findings on future Tuesdays, but thought this article was the best first step if you are looking for something or if you are refining your work.
This is our FIRST podcast! We need to practice....that is for sure, but how fun is this?! We talk a little about the name and a little about who we are. Check us out...more to come...
MY FIRST VLOG!!! I have to admit...nerve-racking to start and yet...FUN!!! I see my little quirks of light, sound, mannerisms, and all that jazz, BUT...who cares...I did it and am off and running. I do know that my VLOGs will be simple, raw, and authentic...I may even wear pajama pants. Welcome to Lioness Creative, LLC...in the video world!
It was their second show with a live audience and their guest was none other than OPRAH WINFREY. I have grown to just love Oprah and she shares her wisdom from building herself as a mogul. Her entrepreneurial stories are amazing because she shares success, failure, feelings, etc. My ears perked up because she said that she has a mantra for new things she tackles and she also makes this mantra advice for anyone she talks to that asks for advice...its simple, and yet complicated: "Name it and then create it."
"Name it and then create it"...I felt this twinge of confidence and wanted to yell, "YES!" One of the first things I do in ideation is to come up with a basic framework and then I dive into what it can be named. In the last month, I took two large bins of sketches, notes, and more all with various frameworks, names, acronyms, graphics...and I sorted, purged, shared some with others that can use them in marketing campaigns, and then combined some things that should go together. I redefined my one business and I started another...and am collaborating on a third which is a hybrid business/non-profit social venture...ALL as a result of this need to create from idea to action.
The last few months have been the best of my creative energy...going through all of these things, getting a new computer, setting up a powerhouse of monitors in my office, organizing and strategizing my own work, and reconnecting with people and networking. It feels like a ROAR of energy. Meanwhile, I was posting lioness pictures and photos of strength through this process and they were well received. There it was...a name...so, Oprah's mantra was happening before I realized her mantra was a thing. I named it, and am now creating it. Listening to her, I was affirmed. DO IT!
So...without further ado...Welcome Lioness Creative, LLC...may your journey as a business take on a life of it's own...Creative...Empowered...and STRONG!