Fractional CMO

      Fractional CMO

      Fractional CMO

      We Can Help You Move Your Branding and Marketing to a New Level of Excellence and Performance

      Could Your Business Benefit from Going Beyond Brand Consulting to Engaging a Fractional CMO?

      It’s a typical situation in today’s competitive business world. Your small business or mid-cap company may not need a full-time CMO, but you do need someone who can help you move some of your most critical branding and marketing activities across the line. At SMG we offer a Fractional CMO package that elegantly solves this problem.

      As many of our clients have discovered, one reason for this uptick in the fractional consulting model (i.e., interim CEOs, CFOs and CMOs) is that using a fractional Chief Marketing Officer is often a more efficient, effective and less expensive proposition than bringing on a full-time person.

      In addition, the amount of money and time it takes to hire these folks may not be equal to the amount of marketing and branding work that needs to be done. While mid-cap companies have needs for these services, they may be significantly less than those of a larger corporate enterprise. Even in cases where a full-time CMO is the right way to go, the right person can take up to a year of working with a placement firm to find.

      Enter SMG. Many of our clients are looking for us to go one step beyond consulting and implementation to becoming a virtual part of their team on a part-time, limited basis. Some of the main ways our fractional CMO services are best employed include:

      • Taking over the management and implementation of the CEO brand
      • Filling in the gap when the business is in between full-time CMOs
      • Establishing the fractional CMO role, then hiring and onboarding a full-time replacement
      • Working as the CMO for a specific ProJet(s) that need attention to be moved across the line
      • Functioning as the coordinator and CMO for the team during a time of transition
      • Coming in as a fractional CMO to move the branding and marketing of the company to the
        next level

      As your fractional Chief Marketing Officer, Karen Tiber Leland goes beyond consulting to become a part of the team. With extensive expertise and a deep bench of professionals at her disposal, Karen can function as a strategist, coordinator and implementer to move your branding and marketing to the next level.

      Is a fractional CMO the right solution for your business?

      Do you need someone who can act as a “general contractor” for a series of marketing and branding initiatives you have going on (or need to start) but have no one in-house who’s really capable of taking on that role?

      Do you need someone who brings an outside eye and expertise to a wide variety of marketing and branding issues you are struggling with, can turn that insight into a strategy, and then has the resources and capacity to implement the plan?

      Do you have a specific long-term branding or marketing project that requires a leader with expertise you don’t have in house?

      Do you need someone to lead a cultural transformation to help your business become more brand and marketing focused?

      Do you have a multitude of begun, but not done, branding and marketing initiatives that you just can’t seem to move over the finish line?

      Do 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?

      Is your current CMO 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?

      If you answered “yes” to any of the above, engaging Karen Tiber Leland as your interim CMO might be an elegant solution for your marketing and branding needs.

      The beauty of hiring a CMO on an interim or fractional basis is that you can surgically craft the deliverables you want them to achieve. In an on-demand economy, it makes sense that an on-demand CMO is a smart solution to help you level up your branding and marketing — just without the hassles of having to hire them.

      For more information please contact Karen Tiber Leland.

      Brand Marketing Strategy

      Brand Marketing Strategy

      Brand Marketing Strategy

      Strategies and Services to Expand Your Reach, Reputation and Top-Line Revenue

      Are Your Looking for a Brand Marketing Firm to Help You Build A Brand Marketing Strategy?

      SMG is a brand marketing firm that specializes in personal, team, and business branding and implementation for thought and industry leadership, reputation management, CEO branding, and business brand marketing strategy and positioning.

      Through our proprietary Brand Mapping©, Modern Marketing Pyramid©, and Branding from The Inside Out© processes, we work with our clients to create the awareness, develop the vision, and implement a brand marketing strategy by which they can move their personal, team, and business brands to the next level. The individuals and businesses who come to SMG share some common attributes:

      • Our clients are looking for a brand marketing firm to help them build a brand marketing strategy that expands their current reach to a larger audience. They know they need to be head and shoulders above the crowd, sought after, and seen as having high value—but they are not always sure of how to navigate the branding, PR, and marketing waters to get there.

      • Our clients want to be seen as thought and industry leaders but are often at a loss for the best way to get there. Previous engagements have frequently left them frustrated and wondering what the most effective path would be—both online and off.

      • Our clients realize they need to be well positioned online, but most don’t have the time (or knowledge) to negotiate the world of online reputation well, and yet they understand how that world is a goldmine when properly set up and utilized.

      • Our clients want to work with a brand marketing firm that can go beyond strategy to implementation in a cost-effective, efficient, and timely way. They want to pay for results—not overhead.

      • Our clients understand that the world of branding and marketing is constantly changing and want to ensure that their personal and/or business brands are keeping up with best practices.

      SMG helps our clients asses their current level of brand excellence and articulate 7 critical aspects of the personal and/or business branding strategy. In addition, we assess over 40 potential brand-building tactics and choose the ones that are most effective for the client. We then translate these into a 1-year plan to put their personal and/or business brand into action within their company and industry. Our highly researched strategy typically includes:

      • Assessment of long-term, strategic brand strengths, direction, and opportunities
      • Macroanalysis of the state of the market and current strength/weakness of the brand
      • Best opportunities to penetrate the market with a defined brand
      • Competitive analysis and key attributes
      • Best social media avenues and traditional PR activities to build the brand
      • Brand tagline
      • Positioning statement
      • Brand monetization strategy
      • Digital brand strategy
      • Timelines
      • Deliverables and milestone projections
      • Budget
      • Developing a process for overall brand look and feel of website

      Finally, we will develop a series of “brand messages” that are on target with the brand. The resulting “messaging” will be integrated into the collateral materials, brand, and buzz building and thought leadership activities of the strategy.

      The final result is a custom strategy plan, which can be implemented immediately by SMG, Inc., the client themselves, a vendor(s) of the client’s choice, or a combination of the above.

      For those of our clients who are looking for a brand marketing firm that offers “done-for-you” services, founder Karen Tiber Leland can engage with you as a concierge brand manager to implement the strategy designed. Our projects are designed to:

      • Directly work toward outcomes that go beyond “feel good” to increased reputation, revenue, and top-line results.
      • Directly benefit the CEO or C-suite brand, resulting in an increased leadership capability.
      • Directly benefit the client’s specific work group, segment, or company at large, via the implementation of the branding strategy.
      • Be actionable and observable in present-day and immediate-future results.
      • Be completed or achieve substantial progress within a three- to six-month time frame.

      For more information on how SMG can help you please contact us to schedule a complimentary 20-minute telephone consultation.

      CEO Brand and CEO Reputation Management

      CEO Brand and CEO Reputation Management

      CEO Brand and CEO Reputation Management

      Far from being a luxury, an exercise in ego or even a nice-to-have, building an executive or CEO brand is a requirement in our digital world.

      Building Your CEO Brand and Practicing CEO Reputation Management

      According to the Burson-Marsteller “CEO Reputation Study,” close to 50 percent of the reputation of a company can be attributed to the standing of its CEO. Like it or not, today’s CEO has been precast in the role of their company’s Chief Brand Ambassador. Assuming you have accepted the charge to build your CEO brand and practice CEO reputation management for the good of your organization, SMG can work with you to implement the CEO Branding Matrix to help get you there.

      At SMG we believe the path to creating a strong executive and CEO brand involves taking a series of actions that are distinct from, and go beyond, the branding of your business and include the following CEO reputation management activities:

      • Managing your online presence and practicing CEO reputation management via LinkedIn (and other social media sites), search engine optimization, web presence, and others.

      According to recent studies, being a social CEO is now a critical responsibility, not a nice to have. Consider BRANDfog’s “Global Social CEO Survey,” which reported that major benefits of leadership participation in social networks include better communication, improved brand image, more transparency, and improved company morale. Specifically, the survey reported that:

      – 75 percent of those surveyed perceive that C-Suite and executive leadership is improved by participation on social media.
      – 83 percent of U.S. respondents believe that better connections with customers, employees, and investors can be built through CEO participation in social media.

      • Creating your executive presence and brand by design instead of default using a personal brand narrative, brand collateral, positioning, and personal gravitas.

      One study from the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) found there were three key aspects to executive presence—gravitas, communication skills, and appearance. Gravitas by far carried the most weight and was composed of six core traits: confidence, decisiveness, integrity, emotional intelligence, vision, and reputation.

      Interestingly, “The CEO Reputation Premium” report from Weber Shandwick/KRC Research revealed that similar attributes drive strong CEO reputation, including: having a clear vision for the company, inspiring and motivating others, being a good communicator internally and externally, and caring that the company is a good place to work.

      • Establishing your thought leadership through media exposure, speaking, and publishing.

      The bad news is that you can’t just declare yourself a thought (or industry) leader. It doesn’t happen because you say so—it happens because the world says so. In order to be a thought or industry leader, you need to rise to such a level of expertise or excellence that people (media, other industry leaders, clients, etc.) will seek you out as a recognized authority.

      • Implementing a content marketing strategy for CEO reputation management and to get your unique message and expertise across.

      Content marketing is a multidisciplinary strategy that includes a plethora of tactical areas, such as blogs, podcasts, webinars, eBooks, and social media posts.

      Since the focus is on generating and distributing high-value, relevant content to your audience, the quality of what you put out is significantly more important than which channel(s) you decide to disseminate the information through.
      Sounds easy, right? According to a 2015 report by CMO.com, less than 40 percent of all content marketers are effective, and 69 percent of content marketing lacks quality.

      For more information on how SMG can help you design and implement your brand, and practice CEO reputation management, contact us to schedule a complimentary 20-minute telephone consultation.

      Creating a Brand-Focused Company Culture

      Creating a Brand-Focused Company Culture

      Creating a Brand-Focused Company Culture

      Create a culture that gets your organization in alignment with your brand promise.

      It’s one thing to design the architecture of a company brand; it’s another to create a brand-focused culture where the brand is being lived day to day, at all levels of the organization.

      The process requires participation from the senior executive level to the front-line staff and takes between six months and one year to complete.

      Just as creating a personal brand has become a key component in managing individual careers, building a brand-centric business has become a nonnegotiable factor in company success. Simply having a good product is no longer good enough. According to research, 87 percent of corporate executives believe that having a strong corporate brand is as important as having strong product brands.

      How do you get to this sometimes-illusive state of organization-wide brand focus? It requires creating a culture where your brand promise is woven into the fabric of how your company does business.

      At SMG we work with SMBs and Fortune 1000 companies to implement The Five Functions Of Brand Alignment Process — an organization- or department-wide, in-depth consulting and training process that provides a five-point customer-centric approach to creating a brand-focused company culture. Points include:

      • The Customer Experience: Brand-Focused Connection
      • Walking the Branding Talk: Is Our Leadership a Product of the Product?
      • Lining Up All Your P’s and Q’s: Three Ways Customers Judge Your Company Brand
      • Brand Is Everyone’s Business: Treat & Train All Employees as Brand Ambassadors
      • Let Brand Energy Drive Brand Design
      • Utilizing the Power of Teams to Drive Continuous Brand Improvement
      • Create Narrative-Driven Standards: The Why of the What


      For more information on how SMG can work with your organization to create a brand-centric culture, please contact us to schedule a complimentary 30-minute telephone consultation.

      Rent My Brain

      Rent My Brain

      Rent My Brain Session

      This one-hour, no-holds-barred consulting call gets to the heart of your marketing, social media, PR, branding, business development, or content marketing question. The feedback you will get is to the point, precise and actionable.
      • Confused about what to do with your social media?
      • Wondering if your website, LinkedIn and online presence is up to speed?
      • Feel like you are not clearly able to articulate you personal or business brand?
      • Looking for the ideal  3-5 branding strategies to create the highest return on your money?
      • Think you are not getting the recognition for the thought leadership you should?

      The Rent My Brain session is a one hour intensely focused session designed for individuals looking for a High Speed Shortcut to building buzz for their brand.

      Drawing on insight from her 25 years of experience as a brand expert, marketing and management consultant, bestselling author, worldwide keynote speaker, and freelance journalist, Karen Tiber Leland insures that you will walk away with the information you need to create real results. Some of the outcomes clients have gotten from just one Rent My Brain Session include:

      • One client closed $25,000 worth of business two weeks after the call by making just one adjustment suggested.
      • An author was offered an online column at a top-ten website using our blog-promotion strategy.
      • A client placed an article on Forbes.com that became #1 on the site that week and was subsequently interviewed by NPR and featured by Arianna Huffington in her book.

      Contact us today to schedule your Rent My Brain session.

      Keynote Speaking

      Keynote Speaking

      Keynote Speaking on Personal Branding, CEO Branding, Leadership and Inclusion

      Karen Tiber Leland has given presentations, workshops and keynote speeches in more than 50 countries around the world. She has spoken for Harvard, Yale, TEDx, Google, The American Management Association, The American Marketing Association, YPO, Stanford and many others. Karen is best known for high energy, humorous and interactive programs that are research based and practical. Karen travels from NYC and will speak anywhere a plane, train or car can take her.

      Keynote Speeches

      “Your work has a keen sensibility not usually found in comparable speakers.I continue to be impressed with its quality and your results.”

      Director Professional Development, Fidelity

      Create A Personal Brand That Boosts Your Productivity, People Skills and Career

      Your personal brand is not a single statement or clever quip but a pathway to positioning yourself as a leader in your company, community and career.

      For example. Studies show that 48 percent of employers choose not to hire (or promote) a candidate based on their online content, 65 percent of journalists use social media to find sources, and there is a 44 percent increase in networking effectiveness when LinkedIn is used.

      This presentation introduces the Personal Brand Mapping© Process and helps everyone from the secretary to CEO create a stronger brand — online and off. Topics include:

      • Why having a personal brand is not an option
      • Creating Your Personal Brand Roadmap©
      • Finding the “weather you bring with you”
      • 5 best personal branding practices

      Interested in this speech? Contact us now for more details.

      “Participants loved the interaction and specific take-away ideas. I really appreciate your going the extra mile to tailor the presentation for our group; this came through loud and clear on the evaluations.”

      Director of Education and Communications, Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals

      Why You Need to Build Your Executive and CEO Brand for Thought Leadership and Reputation Management

      Far from being a luxury, or an exercise in ego, building an executive or CEO brand is a requirement in today’s world.

      Close to 50 percent of a company’s reputation can be attributed to the standing of its CEO, and 70 percent of people surveyed say the reputations of the CEO and other executives are critical in attracting talent.

      This presentation introduces the CEO/Executive Brand Matrix© and helps today’s leaders excel in their role as their company’s Chief Brand Ambassador. Topics include:

      • Creating a parallel brand that enhances the business brand
      • Creating your Brand Matrix©
      • 3 steps to thought leadership
      • The role of executive presence in creating a CEO/Executive brand

      Interested in this speech? Contact us now for more details.

      “You consistently rate among our top speakers at conferences.The overwhelming positive feedback we receive from attendees about you is that you are practical, fun, and have valuable information to contribute to any company. There are few speakers out there who know their audience as well as you do!”

      Conference Producer, Inc.Magazine

      Leveraging Diversity of Contribution and Thought to Create a More Inclusive Workplace

      The American workplace has more diversity today than ever before, with 67 percent of job seekers saying a diverse workforce matters when considering job offers and 83 percent of millennials reporting feeling more engaged when their company fosters an inclusive culture.

      So how does an organization get to the point where diversity and inclusion becomes part of their company culture — one employee at a time?

      This presentation introduces the Contribution Archetype Model© and provide a unique way approach inclusion, without a specific focus on race or gender. Each participant will find a deeper understanding of their own contribution, and an enhanced appreciation of the unique contribution of colleagues and customers. Topics include:

      • Identifying your Contribution Archetype©
      • How to create more inclusive teams through archetypes
      • 3 ways diversity in thinking leads to better outcomes
      • Avoiding FOMO and focusing instead on your greatest contribution

      Interested in this speech? Contact us now for more details.

      “I am searching through an electronic thesaurus trying to identify the adjectives that describe your presentation.Words like professional, experienced, sensational, stimulating, dynamic, and inspiring come to mind.”

      Marketing Manager, Apple Computer, Inc.

      “You deliver! I’ve used hundreds of presenters for our magazines and conferences and for seminars I run for the American Management Association.You were rated outstanding by a challenging audience of presidents and CEOs offast-growing companies.Your materials and message were right on target.”

      Director Events Marketing, American Management Association

      Team Branding

      Team Branding

      Team Branding

      Taking the time to align your team’s brand and strategy now saves time, effort and energy later.

      Team-Brand-Mapping-Process-900This one- to two-day intensive off-site strategy-planning session is designed to facilitate a robust discussion with full engagement and alignment around the team’s future brand and strategic focus.

      Done right, a team brand can have a powerful impact on the team’s effectiveness and engagement with each other — and the rest of their organization. New and improved team skills are almost always required to make the team brand a reality, and as such, these skills challenge a team to grow in their personal and team talents. This off-site is a powerful process:

      • If your team needs a deeper alignment and commitment to the current team/project strategic direction.
      • If your team desires closer relationships among team members and a clearly defined code of conduct.
      • If your team wants renewed inspiration and engagement with the team, project or departmental purpose.
      • If a resolution of ongoing issues/disagreements about team/project direction is needed.
      • If an acknowledgment of, and commitment to, personal changes among the members is required to implement the team or project mission.
      • When you are forming a new project or intact team and/or have had a change in major team players and need to create alignment on purpose, objectives and strategy.

      During the off-site the team will create their next level of brand expression from inventing the future, rather than looking at the past, gain clarity on the team dynamics required to create the newly desired brand culture, develop and align on a strategic plan that is consistent with the team brand, and identify specific plans of action for both individuals and groups and then commit to their fulfillment.

      For more information on having Karen Tiber Leland, founder of SMG, facilitate a team branding off-site, please contact us to schedule a complimentary 30-minute telephone consultation.