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      9 Reasons Why Taking on a Fractional CMO Might Be Your Perfect CEO Brand Marketing Solution

      9 Reasons Why Taking on a Fractional CMO Might Be Your Perfect CEO Brand Marketing Solution

      Fractional CMO

      Small and mid-cap companies often find themselves in the position of needing certain expertise to manage their CEO brand and move their business goals across the line but lacking the talent, or time, in house to get the job done.

      Fractional consulting and business outsourcing have become a popular way to bridge this gap and get the job done. One of the fastest-growing trends in this arena is the rise of the fractional CMO (aka fractional chief marketing officer). Here’re nine situations in which your company might benefit from getting on the interim CMO bandwagon.

      1. You need someone to function as a “general contractor” to get your most pressing branding and marketing initiatives over the line, but you don’t have someone in house with the goods to take on that role.

      2. You need someone who can bring an expert view and fresh pair of eyes to your branding and marketing, and then translate that insight into a working strategy.

      3. You need someone who has a deep bench of resources and the capacity to implement a variety of branding and marketing activities and have neither the talent nor the time to do it yourself.

      4. Your long-term branding and marketing goals require an expertise that you don’t currently possess in house but that don’t justify bringing in a full-time employee to handle.

      5. You need someone to lead a CEO brand transformation to help your company become more market focused and there is no one in house who can do the job, or the atmosphere is too politically charged to use a current employee.

      6. You have a multitude of branding and marketing projects you have started but just can’t seem to move over the line, and you need a dedicated resource to manage their accomplishment.

      7. You need someone on an interim basis to quarterback all your various and sundry marketing and branding initiatives while you look for a full-time CMO.

      8. Your current CMO is taking a leave of absence for a given period of time, and you need to fill his/her shoes to make sure things keep humming along while they are gone.

      9. You need to get started in building a personal brand, but your current CMO is either too busy to take it on or doesn’t have the required expertise to do the job.

      If any of the above situations resonate with you, the fractional consulting model, and specifically a fractional CMO, just might be the solution you have been looking for. For more information on how SMG can help you with your fractional CMO needs, please contact Karen Tiber Leland.

      Why LinkedIn Is a Non-Negotiable Part of Your Core Brand Marketing Strategy

      Why LinkedIn Is a Non-Negotiable Part of Your Core Brand Marketing Strategy

      businessman reading his table
      According to studies, up to 77% of the people who do business with you will check you out on LinkedIn first. In addition, 44% of those surveyed reported an increase in networking effectiveness from using LinkedIn, and 65% of journalists have used information on LinkedIn as research material. When it comes to building a personal brand, there is no doubt your LinkedIn is a non-negotiable part of your brand marketing strategy.

      Sounds simple, right? Yet 90% of the CEOs who call me up inquiring about building a personal brand and creating a brand marketing strategy have a LinkedIn profile whose basics are below par — never mind being well branded or optimized.

      If you are looking to build a CEO-worthy LinkedIn as part of your brand marketing strategy, be sure to check the following off your LinkedIn list.

      • A customized LinkedIn background. When putting together a killer LinkedIn profile, don’t forget to create a branded background. Instead of using the generic (read “boring and unbranded”) options LinkedIn provides, create your own. For about $150, a good graphic designer can take the standard LinkedIn background template and customize it for you.
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      • A branded summary. Think of this summary as the one-page business plan for your brand. It may be the only thing someone who lands on your profile reads. Poorly written, incomplete, or just plain lame summaries can hurt your credibility.
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      • A good summary contains short paragraphs and bulleted lists that provide an at-a-glance view of your achievements and accomplishments. Your summary is not the place for generic broad information and philosophical discourse — rather it screams out for specifics. Numbers and details are what make up a great summary when building a personal brand The more you can paint the picture of who you are through what you have done, the better.
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      • A keyword-optimized, professional headline. The space under your name is some of the most valuable real estate on LinkedIn. This is where you get a chance to make an immediate first impression, yet most people only list their title in this section. In my book, that’s a big mistake and a wasted opportunity. Instead use keywords and phrases that turn the headline into an opportunity for building a personal brand with a mini narrative about who you are, your expertise, and your experience.

      If you are wondering if having a bright and shiny LinkedIn profile really matters, I offer this. One client I worked with closed two Fortune 500 customers for five to six figures each using these LinkedIn strategies. Another client — a senior VP of Innovation for a Fortune 500 company — was able to use her revised profile as a medium to generate her dream job within her existing firm, after changes in her profile caught the attention of a higher-up in her company. Not bad for just a few tweaks that took less than a couple of hours.

      Is It Time for a New Brand Marketing Strategy?

      Is It Time for a New Brand Marketing Strategy?

      Your personal, team, and business brand changes over time and will require periodic adjustments. But how do you know when it’s time to invest the time, effort, and resources it takes to create a new brand marketing strategy? Your decision to embark on a rebrand is most often precipitated by one of the following scenarios:

      Building Brand Marketing Strategy | Sterling Marketing Group

      • Your message has moved on, and your focus has changed. The way you used to describe who you are, what you do, or what you offer has shifted. Old language no longer conveys the new you. Your audience has moved on, and their focus has changed. Markets shift, trends come and go, technologies have made your brand old and obsolete. If your brand is speaking to an old way of working, it’s time to take on an update of your strategy by building a personal brand or rebranding your business.

      • You are preemptively apologizing for your brand collateral. I often meet people who, within the first few seconds of discussing their brand, say, “Oh, please don’t look at my website. It’s horribly out of date. It’s embarrassing.” Websites and other collateral materials (including logos, colors, and fonts) that at best don’t accurately reflect who you are today and at worst are a source of shame scream out for a new brand marketing strategy.

      • You have identified a new niche, audience, or opportunity. Whether building a personal brand or updating a business brand, if the market you are going after has shifted, the way you express your visual, intellectual, and emotional capital may need to be adjusted to come into alignment with your desired audience or opportunity.

      • Your audience is not responding to your offers. Even if you think your personal brand is being clearly communicated, if your desired audience just does not seem to be responding, you either have an outdated, unclear, weakened, or undifferentiated brand. Regardless of the reason, you’re in need of a rebrand.

      • Your brand reputation has been damaged beyond repair. Whether due to your own actions or circumstances beyond your control, a brand that has been linked by association to a highly negative event or attribute may not be recoverable in its current state. For example, an entrepreneur whose consulting business bore the same name as a group that had just carried out a major terrorist attack contacted me to help her create a new nomenclature. Despite the fact that her organization clearly had nothing to do with the terrorists, the association was always going to be there in the public’s mind, so that was that. A rebrand was the only way out.

      • You have undergone a personal transformation. Often when an individual goes through an “eye of the needle” experience (such as a divorce, illness, or death), they find that they’re simply not the same person. Newly informed by their recent ordeal, building a personal brand redo is almost a rite of passage.

      People who refuse to update their personal, team, or business brand when appropriate and get stuck presenting themselves exactly the same way decade after decade run the risk of becoming obsolete and disconnected. Your brand marketing strategy is an organic process—not a fixed entity. Allowing room for growth, change, adjustments, and even transformations is the stuff that relevancy is made of.

      How To Grow Your Business’ Bottom Line With This Straightforward Task

      How To Grow Your Business’ Bottom Line With This Straightforward Task

      2017 was jam packed with a variety of new methods, theories and tools for spreading the word about a business. With the plethora of social sites, new apps and expert suggestions, I had my hands full. Especially since I make it a policy to never recommend anything to my clients I have not tried out myself. But there was one experiment I tried this year that produced better results than any social media campaign or speech I gave. It’s not a new theory, hot app or magical software. Rather, it’s a good old-fashioned core principle of business development that I have taught my clients for years. Click here to read it: This article originally appeared on Inc.com. 

      Create Engaged Customers Using The Google Method

      Create Engaged Customers Using The Google Method

      Google Campus. Image courtesy of Google.

      “Carefully listening to and responding to your customers’ complaints builds loyalty and yields valuable information about how service can be improved.” This is the customer experience mantra that almost every business person can recite from memory.

      While most companies know these words, they often forget to focus on these “hidden gems” of feedback. Even when they do, they sometimes fall short when trying to create the best customer experience. Recently at a conference lunch, I sat next to Dutta Satadip, Director of Customer Success in Americas for Google. Not only did I meet a customer care soulmate, but I recognized that his words of wisdom and approach had many small business applications. When I asked him to share his thoughts on how to create a happy customer using the Google method, he was happy to share. Here’s what he had to say.

      This article originally appeared on Inc.com. Finish reading the article here.

      Worried that vocal strain may make your upcoming presentations a problem? Try these expert tips.

      Worried that vocal strain may make your upcoming presentations a problem? Try these expert tips.

      Between business meetings, calls, teleclasses and speeches, I talk a lot, forcing me to keep my vocal cords in shape. So, when I feel the ice-cold draft of air-conditioning on a long flight or the seasonal sniffles coming on, the panic rises in my throat.

      The average cold can wreak havoc on your vocal cords causing inflammation, soreness and a croaky sound that I imagine is what a frog playing a kazoo might sound like. Which just won’t do when you’re facing an upcoming public presentation or performance.

      I interviewed Christina Hager, a professional opera singer for ten years and current presentation coach. She had some great tips for keeping your voice in tip top shape. Click the below link to find out how.

      This article originally appeared on Inc.com. 

      Feel like your lacking enough z’s? Here’s how to overcome some of the worst sleep robbers

      Feel like your lacking enough z’s? Here’s how to overcome some of the worst sleep robbers

      Every time I go to sleep in a hotel room, I have a ritual I perform.Since I find the blue light emanating from the devise disturbing to my sleep, I take a towel from the bathroom and place it over the bedside digital clock. My previous husband always found my clock-covering behavior strange. He questioned the impact such a small colored light could have on the quality of my sleep. Thanks to some new research from the University of Haifa and Assuta Sleep Clinic, I have been vindicated. To get quality sleep, check out the full article that originally appeared on Inc.com.