Revolution of Influence

I've always felt strongly that thoughts and ideas are the great equalizer of brands. No longer do we live in an era where only the largest of companies dictate their degree of influence based on how much money they spend to get in front of more eyeballs with one more 1-way message that's all about them.

The greatest influence can now be in the hands of the most helpful, transparent and personal brands of the world. Are you ready to be one of them? Caliber's Revolution of Influence blog aims to equip you with the strategies, content know-how, tools and trends to find the path that catapults you to newfound success.

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Recent blog posts

6 Tools Better Than An FAQs Page

Posted by on in Social Media
Picture that someone has just absorbed your home page and perhaps dove into your other pages. They’re crossing an important point where they’ve gone from ordinary visitor to more interested party. They may not be ready to BUY just yet, but it’s reasonable to expect that they’re moving toward having an initial conversation, right?

They just have a few questions they’d like to have cleared up, perhaps even before that first actual meeting takes place.

Perfect! They can just go to the FAQs page on your site and surely most of those questions if they’re common enough will be addressed, right?
Happy 2012 to you all! I’m excited about the possibilities this year brings as I hope you are as well.

Coming out of the vacation period in which many companies took time off for a week, I was thinking about how the last week of the year is probably the least productive one. Even beyond that week, I’m sure you can agree that we should be allowed to take a week or two like that off to recharge the batteries – even those of us heavily entrenched in social media.

7 Social Media Resolutions for 2012

Posted by on in Personal Branding
I won’t even bother with the typical exercise goals – I’ll start with the goals that are easier for me to accomplish in 2012 in the social media realm. I’ll bet you may want to take a few of these for yourself too. 

Is there such a thing as a Chicago Ad person?

Posted by on in Culture
Lately when I’ve thought of what sort of people Advertising produces, for some reason my mind turns to clothing styles to spot this species in its native habitat. For example, you have the Creative Director, he of the thin glasses, goatee, jeans and blazer. Tends to refer to many things as “crap” and how we don’t do ads like we used to.

Kidding aside (kind of), I went below the surface and got to thinking a lot deeper in asking this question in relation to our environment: How deeply are Advertising people influenced by the city we inhabit and can the work we do be impacted as a result (good or bad)?

It’s an interesting theory. I suppose if cities took on the personas of, well, people, I think this is kind of what it might sound like if they got together for drinks to discuss this very thing. So New York, Miami, L.A. and San Francisco walk into a bar with Chicago in, well, Chicago.
Attention, Head Media Buyer for The Home Depot. Can we talk? You’ve got an opportunity for yourself handed to you on a silver platter if you’re intelligent and I’ll bet you are. So here’s what I want you to do.

I want you to pick up the phone and start placing ads on “All-American Muslim” like no tomorrow.

Don’t overthink. Don’t overanalyze. Just do it. I don’t care what your demographics are. I don’t care what marketing research tells you. I’m as big a fan as anybody of market research but when your competitor shoots themselves in the foot so badly by blowing their nose on an entire race of people, you’ve got to seize the moment and welcome those people with open arms.

You’ll Never Have Enough Time. Thank Goodness.

Posted by on in Culture
This blog post would be better if only I had more time to write it. But the window I have to write it is now. And I like that. Because it mirrors the nature of a crazy, fun and manic business we chose to be a part of. The “Hurry Up and Wait” state of advertising agencies and marketing firms is something I’ve had to deal with in every culture I’ve been a part of, including my own.

5 Ways To Avoid Social Media Fatigue

Posted by on in Social Media
It’s not easy establishing our own personal brands in the world. You have to blog, tweet, connect, and like…let’s face it, it can be rather exhausting to keep up this kind of consistency. No wonder I hear the term “social media fatigue” used more often. Yet, if it’s a given we all have to build awareness of ourselves, aren’t we forgetting an opportunity right before us that might help share the burden of producing fresh content?

Deborah Shane, host of "Metropolis"

Yesterday, it was my distinct honor to join my colleagues at thePersonal Branding Blog for Deborah Shane’s Blog Talk Radio program, Metropolis.” In addition to myself and Deb Shane, the panel included Wendy Brache, Devin Hughes and Elinor Stutz

If you have about 30 minutes to spare, I think you’ll find it a worthwhile listen as we covered some great ground on personal branding in the digital age. Click on the show’s link above and let me know what you think.

The “Word of Mouth” Trap

Posted by on in Strategizing
Let’s get this out of the way: Positive word of mouth is terrific. I can think of nothing more powerful than an instance where one reliable source tells another person how great a product or service is. It’s instant credibility for your brand.

Unfortunately, there are people who don’t know how to make word of mouth all that it could be. Word of mouth can build business but it can also build complacency in people that benefit from it because those same people believe they don’t need to do anything else or that everything they’re doing currently is just fine. But in time, that kind of philosophy can result in decreased market share or worse.
I’m writing this post from a Starbucks, where I just had a meeting. Tomorrow, I’m having a one-on-one at a Panera. When not at either of those, I can be seen at Caribou Coffee or Einstein Bagels.

Seriously, I should just replace my regular office address with those 4 logos.

I know it’s a cool talking point to have an office with a basketball court, foosball tables, tiki bars (I’ve had that one before) and more. But do we really need it to be creative? I’m not suggesting everything has to be steel and grey in our workspaces. Far from it. I’m just wondering if we need so much excess in order to 1) impress clients and 2) come up with good ideas.
Now that the Rahm Emanuel Question has been officially answered – in case you’re unclear, he’s officially on the ballot to stay – we can take a look at how our selection of candidates are faring in terms of educating voters in the online world. Sure, shaking hands at an El stop is great PR, but if there’s one thing that the Obama era has taught us, it’s that you can’t underestimate the power of social media in terms of spreading the word about your position on the issues. So I decided to judge our primary candidates – Rahm Emanuel, Gery Chico, Carol Moseley Braun and Miguel del Valle – on how well they are leveraging the online universe to accomplish this goal.

Now let’s check out the results.
When I was a kid, I read Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” It was a funny little poem that imagined a place where there’s no more ground under our feet. I’ve often wondered the same about Advertising. When it comes to placement of media in the public domain, where do WE end? Where are our limits? Do we have any limits at all?


This is no place for a giant logo.

You’re an agency Creative Director and you’re charged with the following agenda from the Milwaukee Health Department: Show how sleeping with your baby in the same bed is dangerous.  Go.


Welcome to the 2022 NBA Season. We’re 10 years removed from the lockout that claimed the 2011-2012 season and the landscape sure looks different. It should be an exciting season in the East/Central Division, which of course, is comprised of:

Chicago
Detroit
Miami
Orlando
Washington

You Are Not Your Business Card.

Posted by on in Personal Branding
There’s a question we all seem to get in networking situations – “What do you do?” Invariably, we answer with“I’m a (occupation) and I work for (company).”



I started thinking about how this defines so very little about why people find our personal brands memorable. We lead with what’s on our business card. But when people talk about you to others, what will they say?

Having just finished the excellent Guy Kawasaki book, “Enchantment,” I’ve realized that likability and trust make for a more compelling position than simply relying on where you work and what you do to bowl people over. Primarily because it shares so little of you as a person.

“He’s a great accountant.”
Not bad, I suppose. But I’ve heard the beginning and end of the whole story.

Where Have You Gone, Ashton Kutcher?

Posted by on in Social Media
I heard you left Twitter the other day because you sent out a Tweet you shouldn’t have about Joe Paterno and the whole Penn State fiasco. And you’re right – it was dumb of you to jump to conclusions with that Tweet imploring the University to keep him before you knew the full facts.

But you know what, Ashton? It’s OK. Really. You made a stupid Tweet but it’s no reason for you to leave Twitter altogether (or hand it off to someone else to manage your account).
In just three years, Free Green Can has taught thousands of Chicagoans to help the environment by doing what they already do – pitch their trash and recyclables into a dual purpose recycle/trash container. With the Park District and major sports teams in town on board, the company has some exciting plans in the works for 2012 – including building on the revenue sharing opportunities for potential advertisers and host companies.
Continued from the previous post, here are 3 more changes you can consider for a stagnant culture that Theo Epstein might think about in instilling a winning Cubs culture. 4) Losing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Essentially, if you believe you’re a bad team, you’re going to perform like one even though in reality you aren’t. Look, I don’t believe for 2 seconds that a curse has anything to do with the Cubs perpetual losing. It’s the same way in organizational cultures. Everything happens – or doesn’t happen – for a reason. If the management believes the team is as good as anybody or even better, yet the rest of the team doesn’t appear to believe it, where’s the disconnect and why is that happening? It could be lack of clarity or distant leadership. Lack of metrics that everyone understands. Lack of everyone in the organization understanding what’s valued most. Or lack of talent that just isn’t there and has been permitted to stay for far too long. And more.
When you’ve had a bad year for 103 years, what would you do to turn things around?



It’s practically incomprehensible for us to relate to a question like this because while a business can have a bad month, bad quarter or – in this economy – a bad year, we usually don’t know what it’s like to have consecutive bad decades.

It was something I couldn’t help but wonder as I was speaking at the Chicagoland Chamber about vision, brand strategy, culture, and how to keep that culture thriving. Maybe because, long before Theo Epstein ever came aboard as President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, we’ve often heard of the need for the North Siders to instill a “culture of winning.”

What a Shoplifter Taught Me About Branding

Posted by on in Events
Today’s post is brought to you by guest blogger Rob Jager of Hedgehog Consulting. Rob is an incredibly gifted management consultant and I’ve personally used his services to help channel my agency’s vision into tangible results. I’ll be co-presenting with him on how you can do the same next Thursday the 3rd at the Chicagoland Chamber at 7:45am. The event is free.
rob1b23-bluebackground

I used to work in retail. In retail, it’s no secret people steal. Sometimes it’s the employees; sometimes it’s the customer. It really doesn’t matter, they both taught me something I didn’t know before.

First, most shoplifters have a look or habits they have. Talk to any Asset or Loss Prevention department and they’ll give you a name or a description of each specific person they’re watching for. In fact, they’ll tell you that the thief behaves the same way every time.

Second, I found out that if you approach a shoplifter, greet them, ask if you can help them with anything at all, they will usually dump what they’ve taken because they know you know…and once they’re found out, they want out (the only exceptions being the absolute pros, who will lie to your face and then take some more).

So what does that have to do with branding?

Well, every business attempts to brand itself in some way of another – through logos, slogans, and other visible things. What you don’t see are the things that are internal as well. This is the part we refer to as culture. How the company behaves in varying situations. This is just as much a part of brand as any message a business puts out. When I think of shoplifters, I think of how consistent their habits are between visits to different locations and how it’s their brand. Their style. Their culture.

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