Category: Branding

The Dangers of Mixed Marketing Messages

danger of mixed marketing messages

Too many times we think we are saving money by sharing ALL we do in one communication piece.  You’ve seen it too, and probably been guilty of it a time or two.  Instead of focusing on the benefits of what you do and listing a service or a group of related services in a package, you provide a list of all of your services because “what if someone wanted eggs, and I only talked about butter?”

While it is true that someone might want to purchase a product other than the one you were talking about in that particular brochure, if you focused on the benefits of butter, and how well it makes a cake – then you leave the prospect to ask about butter, and eggs.  (I am making myself hungry)

danger of mixed marketing messagesI found a picture that articulates the idea of “telling everyone all you do and creating a mixed marketing message” so well – and it made me laugh…

AND – now I am not so hungry any longer…  When you talk about two completely separate services, you cause confusion – and sometimes you then have to explain and you lose the power of the message.

Stay focused and avoid mixed marketing messages!


6 Ways to Drive Brand Awareness

brand awareness for professional public speakers

Recently I was asked to map out a campaign that focused only on brand awareness – not necessarily on selling a specific product or service. These are different from the ‘normal’ campaigns I create for my clients that are all about driving sales, but they are no less important to your overall business success. Here are 6 of my favourite ways to drive brand awareness.

brand awareness for professional public speakersReferral Marketing

Understanding that almost 70% of buying decisions are influenced by a customer’s experience with your brand, what can you give to existing ‘raving fans’ that will encourage them to share your content and share their experience of working with you? Everyone wants to buy from someone whom everyone else likes. That is why testimonials and referrals are so very important.

Guest Blogging

It can feel counter-intuitive to ‘give away’ your best content. I remember my business coach reprimanding me for “giving away my intellectual capital” as recently as 2012. But in a world where collaboration is not only appreciated, but expected by your customers, you absolutely have to be open to sharing your brilliance with both people who pay for it with money, and with people who offer other things of value. Sometimes the best ROI is simply getting a truly warm lead. After all, the person reading the blog already has a relationship with the blog owner, and you are being ‘featured’ as an expert they trust. Sounds more like a hot lead if your content is right!

Don’t forget to publish on LinkedIn regularly as well.


Where guest blogging assumes you are reaching a ‘warm lead’ audience, submitting articles to appropriate trade magazines online and offline gets a different kind of attention and offers immediate credibility.


It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? “Make some thing compelling and shareable” How hard can it be? Well, it can be very challenging, but it also one of the top tools being used by business today. And yes – to explain how to do it well, here’s a link to an infographic on creating infographics

Speaking Partnerships

Again, along the line of collaborating via guest blogging, you can agree to work with other non-competitive brands in ways other than writing. Speaker summits, guesting on a panel, speaking at a conference etc. are all popular ways to keep your brand in front of your target client’s eyes.

Social Media Contests

This is one of my absolute favourites. What can you create where people will submit their photo / question / video / or whatever, and have others vote on it to move it forward in a competition? This concept works brilliantly for musicians and artists. As a speaker, what could you do?

A well designed content will encourage participants to share their content so their followers vote them forward for a chance to win your awesome prize. They get visibility, and of course, so will your brand. One note – make your service offerings very clear in the prize itself so your target audience takes notice of both you and the person sharing the content.

What else have you done to bring brand awareness to your business? Share below!


Unconventional Authenticity – Being Real in your Brand

I came from the corporate world, and I watched “the suits” parade around in perfect business attire. I perceived them to have an air or authority, or ‘aloofness” that I strived to emulate. When I entered into management some 25+ years ago (shhh – don’t tell) I was strongly encouraged not to form attachments or to get to know my staff, because “disciplining them later was going to be hard if we were friends”. So, I maintained that aloofness and ended up developing a reputation among my staff as being unapproachable. (Me – are you kidding!?) My superiors at the time applauded my management style and my ability to keep myself separate from the people I managed.  There was no authenticity in that person I was told to portray.

That was then.  This is now!

I have learned so much over the last 25 years, and management (leadership) has evolved so much since then. Marketing and branding has evolved as well, and I am thanking God for that.

Authenticity is the new queen. Today we care who the person or company IS with whom we are doing business. We care what they believe, what they stand for, and we, as consumers, have the right to know who is steering the ship. We want all the professionalism and the results (and we have a right to demand that) but we ALSO want to enjoy our experience with the company. Today’s leading companies do not simply sell a product or service well- they create a memorable customer experience.

Your customer experience needs to be communicated in your brand.

Your customers want to know more than that you will satisfy their needs, they want to know they will enjoy the ride.  

lauren st patricksAs I pointed out in my post about using storytelling to enhance your brand, we need to move beyond the traditional marketing of service, product, experience, expertise and distribution and showcase US. What we think, what we embrace and what we stand for as a business.  We need to be real and showcase our authenticity.

I had an attitude altering moment early on in my business. I had a business advisor say to me “Lauren, you have a lovely smile – why not let your clients see it now and again”. As a business owner, I fell right back into the “aloofness” that labelled me so many years ago. No more I say, I let my humour out, I share my beliefs, I show the ‘real’ me. And you know what – I attract people as clients that I love to work with.

As strategic and ‘down to business’ as I am when I am working in marketing plans and brands, I have a goofy, fun loving side as well. I am more than a bit of a ham and a ‘smart ass’. I am fast with the sarcasm (as long as it does not hurt feelings), I have a strong faith and I love wine and coffee. I am who I am and THAT is my unique differentiating factor in my brand. Lots of people can work with speakers. Lots of people get great results. There are a multitude of marketing agencies out there. What will make you choose Pibworth in the end? The knowledge that we WILL provide all the results you are looking for – AND that you will have a great time while we do it.

Never forget that who you are is important. Who you are matters.

It matters to me. It matters to your friends and family. And it matters to your customers. Go out and be amazing today!


Using Storytelling to Enhance your Brand

Lately I have had brands on the brain.  Usually I talk marketing here, but I am feeling the need to get back to basics.

Without a solid brand, all the marketing in the world isn’t going to help you.


If you are a regular reader of this blog, that statement should not be news to you, but what I am finding more and more is that the way we EXPRESS our brands is changing.  You see, we are flooded with options, and more and more our “distinctiveness,” or our “unique selling proposition” (USP) is really not so unique.  I believe that the ways we differentiate ourselves from the competition can really be boiled down to these essential elements:

  • Service  (you could provide the best possible service out there.  24-7 etc)
  • Product (you could have a patented product or process)
  • Experience (your customers are treated in such a way they will never leave – think flying Virgin airlines)
  • Expertise (you could do something far better than anyone else – a very difficult claim to substantiate, but possible.  An example might be that you won best in class for last 5 years…)
  • Distribution (you could take a ‘regular’ product and think of a new way to distribute it.  Maybe  you will be the company that delivers a new razor to your door weekly, or Grocery Gateway etc.)

Traditionally we have mixed, matched and combined these elements to create what us uniquely ‘us,’ but when you take a hard look at them – ALL of these fundamental elements are capable of being reproduced by your competitors.  That worries me.

With so many competitors in the marketplace, it is a simply matter of time before  someone copies your customer service philosophy, your delivery method, or even your unique service idea.    What if there was another element we have overlooked? There is – and as a Speaker, that element is YOU!

YOU are the only truly unique element in your business! 

storytelling branding

Okay, so if ‘we’ become the brand, how, then, do ‘we’ express it?  I believe that the best way is to tell your story.  How did you fall in love with the business you are in?  What happened in your life that makes you uniquely qualified to share this message?   Why is your delivery of this message different?  And most importantly – why should we fall in love with you?  You know, THAT is the ultimate selling feature.  Realistically all the things that we can ‘do’ for someone are easily copied.  But when we have a real relationship with our clients, when they know us and love us – we have their loyalty.

The ‘know, like and trust’ factor is not news either, but the idea of using storytelling to express is seems to be a growing trend in business.    Over the next few weeks we will delve deeper into this concept and explore how YOU can integrate it into your business and your marketing.


Marketing with Meaning for Speakers and Coaches – an Overview

While basking in the sun this Christmas holiday, I read an amazing book by Bob Gilbreath, called “The Next Evolution of Marketing”.   His main focus was how “Interruptive Marketing” was dead and was being replaced with “Marketing with Meaning”.  I define Interruptive Marketing as the kind of marketing that forces you to stop doing whatever you were doing, to listen to / read / see the marketing message they are sending (TV commercials, print advertising, direct mail and telemarketing) Marketing with meaning (in a small nutshell) occurs when people choose to engage with you in exchange for something they perceive as valuable.  Meaningful marketing means the marketing itself adds value to people’s lives, whether or not they immediately buy what you are selling.  I found the concept fascinating.  I am tired of being sold to and I know my clients (and yours) are tired of it too.  So, what do we do about it?

Now, this book was all about big brands, and specifically brands that sell a physical product.  Pibworth’s speaker or coach clients usually don’t rely on selling products to drive their business, they sell services.  In essence – they sell themselves.  So I got to thinking, how could I take some of the ideas for selling products as presented in this book, and adapt them to my service selling solopreneurs?  How could you benefit from my reading time on the beach?

I came up with the idea for a “Marketing with Meaning for Speakers and Coaches” blog series.  Subscribe to our rss feed or pop back weekly to get your tips on how entrepreneurs like speakers and coaches can implement this principle.

  • Free Samples – What is YOUR ‘football phone’?
  • Loyalty Programs – Do your clients know you love them?
  • ESP – What do your clients really want?
  • Teach people how to make the right decision for them (and it might not be you – and that is ok)
  • Deliver on your promise
  • Create an Experience
  • Do it themselves advertising – Using testimonials as a marketing tool
  • Understanding your Customer
  • Emerging Trends

So, you are in for  a rather intensive few weeks, but I will do my best to keep it interesting, relevant as well as entertaining.




The Language of Graphic Design

Seth Godin posted a great blog recently called Avoiding “I’ll know it when I see it”   http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/11/avoiding-ill-know-it-when-i-see-it.html

He raised some very good points, but I’d like to add to his ideas. In addition to creating boundaries, asking for benchmarks, and describing the assignment – don’t forget the language differences that can arise.

It is important to recognize that when speaking to a client about graphic design or branding, or even marketing in general, it is quite likely that you and your client are speaking two separate languages. Just as wine has its own language, so does design! The same red wine can be described as “dry and leaving a weird taste in your mouth” and also as “richly full bodied, with a lingering finish reminiscent of  spiced leather.” The descriptions come from two different tastes, perceptions, and abilities to describe those perceptions. A client’s idea of the colour red may range from candy apple to burgundy.  It is our job to figure out which it is.


As the leader in the design process, it is my job to ask clarifying questions, restate what is said, and keep the ‘jargon’ to a minimum. I know my job is to please the client by sing my graphic designer’s talents to create a product that achieves their goals – but it is also my job to ensure a pleasant experience during the design process. I can ease the stress of translating what they envision into the final product by taking the time up front to clarify language and explain the concepts before they are presented. A little considerate communication in the beginning makes the whole process easier and happier for everyone, especially the client.


Top Tips for creating a speaker website that converts

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Which Are You?

Take the next steps to building your speaking business by choosing which of the speaker types below fits you!


Top Tips for creating a speaker website that converts

Is YOUR website doing all it can to grow your speaking business? Are you sure??