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Will Weatherly

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posted by Will Weatherly Jul 21,2016 @ 12:51PM

Businesses Are Just People Too

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For nearly a year, social media mogul and notorious speaker Gary Vaynerchuk has been honing a message. Infamous in marketing circles for his long history of brash, profane, egotistical-at-first-listen presentations near the cross streets of culture and marketing, Gary’s newest barb is as pointed as always. But now, alongside the release of his new book, he’s jabbing it at individuals not industries.

His point?


Self-awareness.

In his words…

 

“There is something that is rarely talked about in the business world and I want to start building more attention for it.
 
That thing is self-awareness…
 
… Self-awareness allows people to recognize what things they do best so they can then go hard on those aspects of their life. It also helps you accept your weaknesses.What works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. I want people to learn to be at peace with themselves, to understand what they can offer, because everyone’s got something. The key, however, is learning how to find it.
 
Self-awareness can help you do that.
 
Self-awareness is being able to accept your weaknesses while focusing all of your attention on your strengths. The moment you decide to accept your shortcomings and bet entirely on your strengths, things will change. Trust me.”

 

Now, with this idea, Gary openly aims to poke holes in the mythology of entrepreneurism that’s being inflated by the business community, its incubators, accelerators, and startup weekends.

But that’s not what’s interesting to me.

 

What’s interesting are the implications for business.

See, I’ve come to believe businesses are just people too.

Businesses have life in them. When they’re young, they need nourishment and protection to grow. They need relationships with people that love them, who are willing to buy. They need unique parts of themselves to get along with each other, teams to keep things functioning and life flowing. These are all essential to survival.

But what if a business wants to do more than survive?

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What if a business wants to achieve as much as possible? To contribute something incredible to the world, something special, something unique, something only that business has the physical and conscious makeup to create?

 

What might it take to self-actualize such a thing?

Maybe first, it would take esteem.

Maybe first, it would take self-awareness.

The concrete, confident knowlege of what that business does best. To have crystal clarity on its strengths. To embrace its flaws and own its weaknesses. To see vividly into its blind spots. To regularly reflect inward. To understand when, where, and why its elements are not aligned.

If that’s what it took, how might a business get such self-awareness?

Dig around “GaryVee” long enough and you’ll find his best piece of advice for people is to… ask.

So, maybe that's good advice for business too. 

 

Ask who?

Ask the people who love you. 

Ask every part of yourself. 

Ask some strangers.

Triangulate.

 

 

posted by Will Weatherly May 11,2016 @ 04:28PM

A CliffsNotes on CX

In case you haven’t heard, it’s all the rage in the marketing world right now. In fact, just last night our local AMA Columbia chapter hosted an event dedicated to the topic. 

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Palmetto Health's Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Todd Miller discussing experiential marketing at the AMA Columbia meeting on May 10.

CX = Customer Experience

I suppose the abbreviation originated to play off its fancier-sounding cousin slash mentor-discipline in the tech world, UX (user experience), while cleverly facilitating a natural extension of the company C-Suite… the CEO, the CMO, and now the CXO.

CX began building noticeable buzz around 2011, the same year the CXPA was founded and the same year the world lost a man who had become synonymous with customer-centricity. In fact, it’s the very mantra of Jobs himself, and variations by other big business mavens like Musk and Bezos, that seem to have fueled the movement.

“Start with the customer.”

Over the past few years, CX has manifested through the formalizing and operationalizing of that creed by thought leaders whose backgrounds are often in customer service or the aforementiond design field of user experience or human-computer interaction -- both of course dealing with the needs of humans. 

Now, what’s all this got to do with marketing? Well, everything obviously.

A Tale of Three Paradigms

Marketing has changed. It’s not what it once was. It used to be a rehearsed monologue brands delivered from a stage loudly and clearly to target audiences with attention to spare. 

#1 - Always On 

But today, the marketing conversation is multi-channel and multi-directional. Social media, customer reviews, online influencers -- these force brands to keep on their toes every minute of every day. 

#2 - Smartketing

Data mining, lead scoring, and automation have fused sales and marketing, making mass-personalization and "funnels-of-one" the growing expectation of consumers as their relationships with brands become increasingly digital.

#3 - Template-ification

With brands and media channels now crowding the marketplace, it's harder than ever to get audience attention, and it's easier than ever to look and sound like every other brand out there. 

All About Intentionality

In my 2014 post, I mentioned that every touchpoint is an opportunity. CX is rooted in this idea, recognizing that in a crowded market and media landscape, some of the best differentiation with the greatest ROI happens during and immediately after the sale. Great customer experiences do not only drive loyalty, they also drive the kind of marketing long-known for being the most trusted in the marketplace -- word of mouth.

Using data, collaboration, and communication, the CX field is unifying traditionally siloed business sectors like sales, marketing, customer service, and operations to hone all possible consumer interactions into effortless, delightful, branded experiences. 

Baby Stepping Your Way To Great CX 

Baby Step #1 - Read The Effortless Experience or Outside In

Baby Step #2 - Consider whether your company is really, truly standing on a strong enough brand promise or distinctive point of difference.

Baby Step #3 - Get to know your customers' perceptions of and interactions with you -- persona interviews, surveys, and journey maps are the appropriate tools here.

Baby Step #4 - Identify the most critical touchpoints you have with your consumer.

Baby Step #5 - Carefully, conscientiously craft these touchpoints into memorable moments that accentuate your brand.  

posted by Will Weatherly Oct 15,2015 @ 08:37PM

Introducing Our Final CreateAthon 2015 Clients

Cancer.

It’s shocking how much weight a simple word can hold. For patients, it is a word that lingers in nearly every thought and feeling throughout the long journey of treatment.

Healing Icons uses creativity to fight cancer. For nearly 20 years, professional artist Heidi Darr-Hope has been teaching art-making to cancer patients as therapy for the psychological stresses of battling cancer.

During CreateAthon 2015, we’ll be helping Healing Icons with the planning and materials necessary to launch a new online course, making Heidi’s unique style of healing available at a global scale.

 

The Therapy Place is the only nonprofit pediatric therapy center in the Midlands of SC. Providing well over 250 hours of therapy to 100+ children with disabilities each week, The Therapy Place has outgrown its current space.

With hundreds of children on therapy waiting lists around the state, The Therapy Place has put a plan in place. They’ve acquired an adjacent property, and are primed to begin their first-ever capital campaign to support construction of a new building and the Midlands’ first ever accessible, inclusive outdoor playground.

But $1 million dollars is no small sum. During CreateAthon this year, we will be creating this capital campaign from the ground up, from campaign plans to campaign theme to supporting graphics and more.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words—a sentiment Global Pencil Project founder Maria Vick would agree with wholeheartedly. In fact, it was a photo of a young boy in Africa clutching a broken pencil that led Maria to establish the program in 1998. She saw that something as simple as a pencil could make a tremendous difference in the life of a child. At its core, the Pencil Project is about providing every child with a quality education.

The Pencil Project collects and distributes pencils (and other educational materials) and mails them to children around the world. Each pencil collection drive is matched with a needy school in the country of the donor organization’s choice.

The 100% volunteer driven Pencil Project is looking to elevate the organization’s profile through professional marketing materials that lend credibility and position them for growth. During CreateAthon, we will be developing a logo, letterhead package, poster, leave behind, and maybe even a few surprises!

Our final CreateAthon client is Epworth Children's Home. Epworth has served children, youth, and families in Columbia since 1865. More than 70 staff members offer comprehensive services to meet emotional, physical, educational, and spiritual needs of all children who are placed in their home.

The work we'll be doing for this client is unique. We will be working specifically to develop a photo library for Epworth to use in its future marketing materials. During CreateAthon, we will collaborate with photographer Jeff Amberg to capture Epworth's truly uplifting spirit – particularly through photos of their beautiful 32-acre campus in the heart of Columbia.

CreateAthon is just a few days away, and we can't wait to get started on the work we'll be doing for these deserving organizations. Knowing that our work will benefit clients we admire so much makes it that much more rewarding.

posted by Will Weatherly Oct 22,2014 @ 12:46PM

FAAAC: A closer look at African American art

An affiliate of the Columbia Museum of Art, The Friends of African American Art & Culture provides supplemental member benefits focused around a deep dive into African American arts. Offering artist home tours, specialty exhibits, group trips and more, the organization bridges ethnicity and age while fostering appreciation for the cultural contributions of African American artists.

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For CreateAthon this year, we'll be working to help by developing marketing strategies, re-crafting web messaging, and designing support collateral.

posted by Will Weatherly Oct 22,2014 @ 09:03AM

DREAMCON: Advancing the digital arts

DREAMCON is an event coming to Columbia, SC to promote the world of digital art. What is digital art? Simply, digital art is the use of technology towards an artistic product, be it static (pictures), dynamic (animation), or interactive (games).

Playing card graphics? Digital art.

3D-Printing? Digital art.

Movie effects? Digital art.

Video game environments? Digital art.

Practitioners abound and the supporting industry is huge, but community, awareness, and education around the craft is far less public. Enter DREAMCON.

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Our work for DREAMCON during CreateAthon will spring from three objectives:

1) Establish a brand architecture.

2) Craft a visual identity.

3) Recruit competition entries.

 

 

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