Shameless self-promotion

13 Apr

It’s been a while…the muse had left town and I was a bit busy promoting other businesses. However a recent incident reminded me of the importance of ‘self’ promotion.

That self is in inverted commas for a reason – because self is also your business.

When you’re a 1-woman-band then it’s one and the same. I was so fortunate to parlay my shameless ability to self-promote into successfully promoting 4 editions of the Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam – and now as I need to once again promote the brand Kris Clark I have been pondering ‘self’ promotion and once again astonished at how many small businesses do not see marketing themselves as a key thing to do AT ALL TIMES.

I can’t ben sweet and nice about it – MARKETING IS IN EVERYTHING. If you build it they will not come! You need to promote. Always promote. Not random PR posts, not sporadic news and definitely not ”we’ll get the marketing intern on it’.

How do you expect clients to find you? The virtual world is just like the old fashioned brick world of the high street. If people don’t know who you are, what you do and where to find you they won’t. And you can never rest on your laurels of yesteryear.

Granted it is a bit scary – and typically the Calvinistic north or Europe isn’t very good at blowing their own trumpets.

Luckily <insert shameless self-promotion here> there are some mighty good consultants such as yours truly out there to help.


Marketing ”Exclusiveness”

2 Jul

I have a confession to make and I am also going to drop a big ”oh wow” on the marketing profession.

Confession – NO CLUE WHAT A DOLE WHIP IS. No honestly – I spent 22 years in the USA but on the Northeastern Seaboard and I don’t think I have even ever eaten a DQ. So recent posts about some Dole Whip something now being at Disney World just means wha? So why am I telling you this? Because I have noticed over the years of travelling back and forth the upsurge of homogenous branding. When we were growing up outside of Philadelphia WaWa, Tastykake, Guernsey Cow these were local and regional brands and if you went on vacation to even Ohio they didn’t know them. To which we thought – poor you. You treasured local treats – like Salt Water Taffy you could only get in Atlantic City.

But then brands decided to trick you – here comes the ”oh wow”. See in order to expand your market you have to make sure the consumer wants to buy your product. So, what do brands do, they create a demand. In the age of the selfie it’s actually easy. You simply create ”exclusiveness”. You tell John Q that even though he has never ever had a Krispy Kreme in his life and these are technically only available below the Mason Dixon line that they are way better than any other doughnut ever. You John Q are not part of the club unless you are enjoying our product. And joy of joys we are opening a franchise cookie-cutter establishment near you soon. Move over KrispyKreme we kids from the block know that nothing will ever beat Felix’s fresh on Sunday Morning with the exception of the doughnut shop in Hershey (which I hear has closed).

Funny thing is – exclusiveness is just an extension to the concept of ”demand’. Way back in the dark ages a company called Cabbage Patch had pretty most the ugliest dolls you have ever seen. These things were not moving off of the shelves. So, what did they do? Ingenious. They removed them from the shelves. They made them scarce. They said ”get them now they’re going quick”. And bam everyone wanted one next gift buying season. The reason I feel this is wrong is that whilst there are some genuinely fabulous global brands – there are a lot of things you should be asking yourself if it is really an improvement? Is it really fabulous that the local farmer’s market is closing down to be replaced by a strip mall of homogeneous brands you can get anywhere?

It’s not only ruining palettes (IMHO) but we also no longer have a decent control of ingredients. How can we protest Monsanto and then get same as everyone else food? If you buy corporate solutions you become a part of the product yourself. Not completely wrong but thinking first is warranted.

Remember to market internally!

2 Jul

We spend a lot of time working on our external shell – how the world perceives us, our products, our services. We think about our corporate vision, branding, website, letterhead, signature etc. We are very polished in marketing ourselves externally. But how about internally? My friend and former colleague Hank Poot wrote several posts about the engaged employee and the actual loss in profitability by companies by people who ”just do their job”. I say take it one step further – and people this isn’t news – make sure to market yourself internally. All those great values we write down in value ladders and pyramids, do all of your employees know and embrace them ?

Do they get it? Have you reviewed it lately? Have you checked it on the work floor? You’d be surprised how many people say ”yes” and either have their own interpretation or don’t actually get it. And as marketing is in everything and nothing sells better than a true story making sure everyone has the same story is crucial.

It’s kind of like ”undercover” boss but then without the cameras. Enjoy the journey.

Pondering ”culturalness”

2 Jul

I was pondering on cultural differences recently – particularly in the light of the ongoing ‘brexit negotations’ and the AI bots which developed their own trading language. That negotiating with different countries isn’t only knowing the language.

Having lived in the Netherlands for many years I can tell you that negotiating with the Dutch is, imho, one of the most difficult things. As you never feel like everyone go what they wanted. It is probably a US thing – we go in wiht our list of ideas, wants, desires and tend to openly say ”we want this what do you want for it”. Whereas the Dutch trade. They often have a list of throw-away items they can lose, their main goal and sometimes a hidden one. They can seem amazingly happy at the smallest ”win” and fight ferociously for something you think doesn’t rate.

Culturalness also goes to how people use language. On the other side of the pond several countries speak the same language(s) as this side yet they use it differently. Not just accent, spelling and vocabulary but also different use. So you take different cultural perspectives, rules of negotiation and use of language and we can prouldy announce that in 2017 we still have a tower of Babel! [wonderful Dutch expression loosely translated as Babylonian lost in translation]. Maybe emojis will save us? If the AI bots don’t takeover first…

Back to blogging…

2 Jul

Hello there it’s been a while. I was all taken up with ”less is more” channels and trying to improve profile views with articles on LinkedIn versus blog posts…more fool me because if you send people to your great site/blog you need to keep it up to date. The question is always who is looking for me? How do they find me? AND – what do I want them to see?  So back to personal branding and re-populating the blog/website with some ponderings and musings on (global) marketing. But first the best thing to do – re-use content. So the next few posts will be transferring some linkedin articles over. Bear with me folks!

Observations on cultural differences

13 May

Differences amongst people from different countries? Is that even allowed? Of course if it gives us a way to understand each other better. Language is not the only tool…

On the London City commuter flight recently I was suddenly struck by the ease with which the Dutch travel (for business). Shouldn’t be a surprise, however believe it or not despite having conquered the 7 seas the Dutch are quite a homely people. But if its business then they’re quite happy to plane, train or automobile. The thought of  a commuter marriage is perfectly normal and many people in NL regularly work remote to where they live.

The British are uber-polite and a bit patriarchal (sorry), Americans over-friendly, think out loud and often times lost, the French political and big fans of child-raising by nanny, the Germans quiet and rule followers and the Dutch are straight to the point and willing to travel…generalizations and my own observations. But I find that if we observe we learn. And understanding the cultural context of the other helps to remove barriers.




Late predictions

10 Feb

In 2017 content will still be key. Branded content with validity, making sense. Also we will see more consolidation, particularly of channels. I myself have been guilty of too many channels making content hard to find.

Hopefully we will also see a continuance of authenticity. In people doing what they say and being transparent in their transactions. Because there is no such thing as alternative truth, there is fact and there is fiction. But there is perception and nuance.


Peace on for 2017.

Don’t Compete! Collaborate!

6 Dec

As this is the title of the speech I have submitted to @spark Spring I thought I should blog about it.

I realized that it all came down to a decision – you can compete and maybe even win – but you are always comparing yourself to someone else and setting the game by their standards.

How to discover your inner superwoman? How to feel at ease with things? Don’t. Don’t give up – no don’t stop. But stop living by those rules.

Do the Kobayashi Maru. Write the rules. And my rules are I’m not competing. I collaborate.

I am more than the individual. I am the sum of the parts. It enriches me to be a part of something else and it makes me happy to contribute. So I choose to collaborate.



4 Aug

Apologies but as a (former)member of the advertising community I have to wade into the Cindy Gallop discussion. It is scandalous that women are still paid less than their male counterparts and that the world seeks to legitimize that.
It is ridiculous that women are underrepresented in most boardrooms/governments/management teams. Full stop. It is appalling that excuses are created on both sides to legitimize this. We shouldn’t be trying to compete in a man’s world…the world should be changing to reflect and accommodate over 51% of the population.

And it is and will…because all 3 of my meetings this week were all women! And we got stuff done. And these weren’t little homespun companies I was meeting with.

There is hope!


23 Jun

I’ve posted about networking before – we all keep reading on how to build one, how to maintain one, the importance of one. I was recently at a meetup and met some new people and we discussed networking. How blah it was to be at a network event where people basically were only interested in selling you something. Or other meetings where people expect you to lay your network on the table as an item of value. The common theme I heard these lovely people say – and praise be – was that a network is of value to you. That you figure out where, when and how you can help and possibly be helped. But helping first is sometimes the key. Build a network based on how interesting people are and their value will show itself.

Oh and get out there out of your comfort zone and meet new people!