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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Steal Scott's Ideas: The Nametag Guy's Brand Message Framework

Branding is not a nicety, it’s a necessity. 

It’s something every company can be intentional about creating and see significant results in every area of the enterprise. 

Sadly, too many organizations do their branding haphazardly, belatedly, or worse yet, not at all. You can read me getting angry about this in my recent column from Metric Collective, and how branding is like cheating.

What might help alleviate this branding problem is a framework. An organized container into which the team can place the many nuances of their brand. 

Today, we’re going to explore the framework that’s helped me in my branding work for nearly twenty years. I encourage you to steal it.

But first, a quick timeline of how this tool came to be. 

For two decades, branding has been my obsession. It started in college with my little social experiment of wearing a nametag every day, which went viral without the help of the internet, social media or advertising. All of the sudden, everybody knew me as the nametag guy. It was fun, bizarre and friendly. 

During those years, I also worked as a disc jockey and promotions director at our campus radio station, which taught me many other lessons about branding that my course curriculum never covered. 

After graduation, branding slowly became my career. I devoted the next twenty years to creating my own brand as an entrepreneur, consulted with organizations on how to grow their brands; then actually helped build brands for clients of marketing agencies, and later did the same work for startups that employed me. 

And somewhere along the way, I managed to find time to research, write and lecture about my learnings prolifically. 

Anyway, that’s where all these ideas come from. And like any good branding tool, there are no guarantees and it’s extremely hard to measure. 

But if you work at a company who is in dire need of getting your branded house in order, it might be a useful place to start. 

Please note, there are two components to this exercise. First is your brand messaging framework. Think of it as a snapshot of who you are and what you do, why you do it. The second part is moving from development to deployment. Think of it as the outpost on which to hang your brand.

Here we go.

LEVE 1 -- ENTERPRISE

Brand mission. 
What is our organization's reason for being? 

Brand essence. 
What is the one sentence that describes the soul of our brand? 

Brand position. 
How does our company intend the brand to be perceived by the marketplace? 

Brand values. 
What core values do we stand for as a company that help us connect with our client? 

Brand vision. 
If every client did exactly what we said and executed against all of the above, what would their businesses look like? 

LEVEL 2 -- PERSONAL

Brand voice. 
What is the style, tone, intent and attitude of the way we communicate? 

Brand triggers. 
What is going through the client’s mind as they encounter our brand online? 

Emotional benefit. 
How does our service make our clients feel? What do we want them to feel as they go through the process of hiring us and becoming a client? 

Immediate problems solved. 
What are the immediate customer problems our service solves today? 

Future problems solved. 
What problems does our service solve in the future? 

Lifetime problem solved. 
What problems does our service solve over the client’s lifetime? 

LEVEL 3 -- ECONOMIC

Reasons to believe. 
Why should our clients believe we can deliver the benefits of our promise? What are our fact based, results oriented numbers that speak to specific usage expectations and provide a convincing argument or proof of our service’s effectiveness? 

Brand stakes. 
What do companies miss out on if they don’t become our client? 

Client insight. 
What is the essential truth about the consumer? What makes them tick and how does our brand reflect that back to them in a relevant way? 

LEVEL 4 -- ASPIRATIONAL   

Brand manifesto. 
What do we really want to fight for and take a stand on? What is our clear and public declaration of purpose and intent? What would inspire clients, but also employees and partners that would attract future talent and make us more joinable? 

# # #

That wraps up the brand messaging framework. 

Once your team has successful completed it, next it’s time to think about where and how that brand will come to life. Remember, if you don’t deploy your brand across all channels, you’re missing the point. Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. Brands are shortcuts for your customers, and they should be able to take them at any touchpoint along the buyer journey. 

Before we look at the list of various brand outposts, think of them as two different tracks. 

Internal channels
Sales, client services and partner relationships

External channels
Culture, recruiting and marketing collateral. 

Here’s every place (or most places) that your brand should come to life. 

Pitch decks, employee onboarding, client onboarding, website, collateral, kickoff meetings, audits, messaging guidelines, brand book, job interviews, job search portals, investor conversations, company profiles, job postings, outbound sales messaging, ideal customer profiles, email campaigns, blog posts, social posts, in person meetings, gated content, videos and other media, office art, business cards, statement of work, event materials, public relations, social profiles, client dashboards, case studies, values materials, paid ad creative, best practices database. 

There are probably many more. Allow this list of brand outposts to inspire your own. 

With these two tools, your company should be able to build a brand foundation that will serve your company for years to come. 

And when your brand starts to evolve and mature into its next iteration, you’ll be ready to update it with where the company wants to go next. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What brand is your company known for?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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Underneath throbs the ache of cosmic specialness

Two of my greatest fears have always been going to jail and going into the army. 

Not only because those environments are incredibly physically taxing, but also because they would mean I'm not special anymore. 

I would quickly become a blade of grass and not a daisy. It’s a hard thing for me to reconcile. 

In fact, it's a hard thing for anyone to reconcile. Because the bug of specialness bites all of us at a very early age. As kids, we all have a need for recognition. We all want to be singled out and appreciated. We all want the teacher to paste that shiny star on our foreheads. 

Becker’s bestselling book on the denial of death explains it as follows. 

Man is literally split in two. He has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet to blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever. And so, he must really be somebody, not just a trembling accident germinated on a hothouse planet. 

That’s one hell of a humility sandwich. 

But it’s deeply grounding. Because for many of us, nobody ever told us that not every thought or idea we had was special. Hell, our parents probably threw a block party every time we took a dump. 

That’s why as adults, when someone offers us feedback, or doesn’t recognize just how special we are, we experience it as harsh or as a sign of not being respected. 

But it’s not. It’s simply the cruel bite of reality. We’re all simultaneously special and not special. 

It’s like the woman who recently sat next to me in the last row of the coach cabin. She seemed upset at her seat assignment, so she began complaining to me about how she had accumulated all these millions points, but with a different airline. 

When asked what the problem was with the current situation, her response said it all:

"Delta doesn’t know I’m special."

And yet, we don’t have to do something amazing to be happy. We don’t have to be something spectacular to be safe in this world. 

Who we already are is enough. 

We must be brave enough to be ordinary. 
 
LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Where you are asking to be treated special?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I didn’t change, you just never knew me

We may exquisitely execute a series of finite and discrete changes, like how we look, what we say, how we say it and whom we say it to. 

But unless we engineer a holistic shift in our psychic center of gravity that integrates into every area of our lives, we haven’t truly transformed. 

Wilber’s critically acclaimed book on the evolution of human consciousness explains the difference: 

Translation is a change in surface structures. It’s horizontal. It’s movement within an existing system. Like rearranging the furniture on the first floor of a building. Transformation, on the other hand, is a comprehensive shift in deep structures. It’s vertical. It’s a leap in consciousness to a new level of development and capacity. Like ascending from the first floor to the seventh. 

Therefore, we can honestly ask ourselves. Are we ascending to the next floor, or just rearranging the furniture? 

And if the answer is the latter, that’s okay too. It simply begs another question. What are we interested in becoming and accomplishing that will require us to reinvent ourselves to accomplish? 

Ultimately, to get to the next level, we have to end something. We have let go of all those things that aren’t us.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

How will you soften the guard you have set against the frightening process of transformation?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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Monday, January 14, 2019

Becoming more deeply useful to the people closest to me

Emerson said that if we make ourselves necessary to the world, mankind will give us bread. 

Sounds like a fair exchange. Here’s how we can put it into action. 

The first step is believing that each of us has a special talent that is unique and essential to the whole of humanity. Which is not an insignificant story to tell ourselves. Believing that mattering is our choice is surprisingly underrated. 

The next step is trusting that we can make a useful contribution with what we have, where we are, right now. Which requires profound acceptance and okayness of the self. Believing that we don’t need to have it all figured out to make a difference is no easy task. 

At that point, we begin asking the key question. At what points do my talents and deep gladness meet the world’s deep need? This assures that our highest gifts are usefully deployed. That we are serving the world, and not just our own egos. 

Next we have to clear the way for us to burst forth with our talents. And that means cutting out the world’s noise and distraction that conspire to block our genius from its full expression. Knowing that in a world where anybody can do anything for nothing, the only barrier is permission. 

The final step in making ourselves necessary to the world is the thrill of feeling our own talents rise up inside of us. Not only noticing and naming that experience, but owning it proudly. And having faith that we can recreate that thrill any time the world needs it. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How are we going to keep you and your talent from dying today?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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Sunday, January 13, 2019

The kinds of waves that make ships disappear

Too many of our career aspirations center around size and speed. 

Consider the language we use in reference to our professional endeavors. 

Opening big, going viral, taking off, making a splash, hitting the ground running and taking the world by storm, it seems that we all want immediate success with minimal effort.

Like that scene in the greatest children’s movie of all time. Veruca, the spoiled brat from across the pond, sings it:

I want the world, I want the whole world, I want to lock it all up in my pocket, it’s my bar of chocolate. Give it to me now! Don’t care how. I want it now. 

But most careers don’t work that way. Life asks us to patiently play the long arc game. To trust the tempo of the universe’s timing. To have faith that our steady and dedicated effort is taking us ever closer to our goal. 

Otherwise the alternative is burnout, disappointment and disillusionment. 

The good news is, when we gradually progress in our careers, step by step, inching our way out of the water a little bit at a time, we can’t really fall. Or if we do fall, we can’t fall that hard. Because our foundation is secure. 

And we’ve earned every piece of footing that we’re on.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Are you taking the long cut?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Proud of having our own feelings about the world

As men, we are trained from an early age that silence is manly. 

That no matter how sad we are or how much pain is coursing through our veins, it’s our job to sit there stoically and bleed all over our clothes. 

Masters wrote an insightful book on masculine power and fulfillment that summarized this gender trend perfectly. 

Men overvalue performance and the appearance of having it together. That’s why so many men take pains not to appear soft, as softness in a man is also commonly equated with sexual failure. Softness is the failure to stay hard. 

This is something that resonates with me, as a man who has always cried at movies, songs, plays, weddings, letters, books, speeches, advertisements, television shows, intimate conversations and documentaries about animal odd couples. 

All of these expressions of human beauty turn on the waterworks within seconds. And it’s always been something people shamed me for. Friends, family members and strangers. To the point that trying not to cry became a bit of a superpower. 

But as an adult, something has finally occurred to me about crying. 

We can be proud of having our own feelings about the world. We can be proud of knowing what we’re feeling while we’re feeling it. And we can proud of being able to both contain and openly express our sadness. 

It’s certainly better than trying to keep our sadness pent up inside where it can quietly fester into a mental illness. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What are you still afraid to feel in front of others?
* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

The practical is never as heavenly as the ideal

Godin once said that sooner or later, many idealists transform themselves into disheartened realists who mistakenly believe that giving up is the same thing as being realistic. 

To prevent this from happening, it’s about understanding the balance. Several examples from my experiences as an idealist come to mind. 

1. Allowing the little lamp of idealism to still burn, but not letting it enflame and engulf us. 

2. Seeing things as they could be, but not beating ourselves up when life fails to live up to our values. 

3. Pursuing higher purposes, but not letting ourselves be crushed by the failure of our ideal. 

3. Believing in progress enough to anticipate improvement, but not pursuing the perfectionism that is never to be found in actual life. 

4. Embodying principled living, but being careful not to cross over into fanatical and obnoxious behavior that has the odor of mania and possession. 

5. Approaching our relationships with optimism and hope, but not putting people high up on some pedestal, believing they have the power to save us with their love. 

It’s hard as hell. For us idealists, the practical is never quite as heavenly as the ideal. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What’s keeping you from seeing through your idealization?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Put a priority on speaking your microscopic truth

The surprising thing about vulnerability is, people don’t go away when they find out who we are. 

It’s quite the opposite. Instead of rejecting or abandoning us, they come nearer. Our truth draws them in like a warm fire. And our tender but universal intimacies become a platform for deep connection. 

Train has a great song about this universal emotional experience. 

These bruises make for better conversation, loses the vibe that separates, good to let you in again, you’re not alone in how you’ve been. Everybody loses, we all got bruises. 

Are you willing to share yours? Even the parts of yourself that might need some work? 

Don’t worry. No need to lift up your shirt for strangers. The goal here is putting a priority on speaking your microscopic truth. Actually expressing your internal experience as you are currently perceiving it, as often as you can.

The simplest approach is giving data about what sensations we’re feeling in the moment. The pang in our stomach, the heating up of our face, the goosebumps on our skin, these simple expressions are single serving, low threat, easy places to start. 

And with some practice, will pave the way for more vulnerable expressions like deep feelings, strong emotions, personal failures and other profound experiences. 

Proving to us that intimacy truly means, into me I see. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...

Are you putting a priority on speaking your microscopic truth?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

It's the world's first, best and only product development and innovation gameshow!

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