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Justin Foster

Bacon Coterie Episode 6 with Jillian Douglas

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In this 6th episode of the Bacon Coterie series, I visit with Jillian Douglas.  Jillian is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of IdeaLearning Group in Portland, OR.  WIth the growing emphasis on customized learning in the workplace, Jillian and her team are true innovators on creating memorable learning experiences for companies.  Jillian is an interesting, funny, smart and driven person who I could visit with for hours!

Connect with Jillian:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jilliandouglas

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IdeaLearning

Web: http://www.idealearninggroup.com/

Bacon Coterie Episode 5 with Juan Kingsbury

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I sit down with the young and talented Juan Kingsbury where we talk about being young and talented 🙂  Juan is job benchmarking expert  and “Occupation Optimizer” who works with companies to ensure that new and current employees are in the right jobs for their skills.  Juan and I discuss overcoming the challenge of being a young expert, the science of job benchmarking and how to sell the “squishy”.

Connect with Juan:

Twitter: @proj_a

LinkedIn: Juan Kingsbury

Bacon Coterie Episode 4 with Thubten Comerford

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In the 4th epsiode of The Bacon Coterie, I visit with social media expert and connector extraordinaire Thubten Comerford.  We cover a broad range of topics – from building a business model on the spirit of abundance to social media trends to building start-up communities.  Thubten is one of the most compelling and interesting people I know.  Enjoy!

Connect with Thubten:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/thubten

Twitter: @thubten

3 Questions to Answer about Your Personal Brand

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Two basic rules of personal branding: 1) Don’t be incompetent and 2) don’t be a jerk. Assuming you are neither, you are ready to amplify your brand but are not sure where to start. Here are 3 areas to consider and 3 key questions to answer to help you get started:

Discovering your Awesomeness

The key question: “What makes me awesome?” This is a blend of your skills, passion, talents, interests, values, etc. Sometimes this awesomeness is a calling – something you feel intrinsically called to do. Other times, it is a natural set of skills like athletic ability, being good with numbers, etc. When you have clarity and confidence in this area, it becomes your offering to the world. It gives you something to hone, package and present to the right audience.

Finding your Audience

The key question: “Who needs me?” Too often, we reverse this with questions like “Where can I find a job” or for the self-employed “Where can I land a contract?”. If you know what makes you awesome, you will also know who is the best fit for you. Simon Sinek said it brilliantly: “Find people who believe what you believe”. In the lens of personal branding, this is values and culture. When you find people that give you energy and you enjoy being around them, then you have found your audience. You can then determine the best business model.

Selecting your Business Model

The key question: “What is the best model to optimize my value in the marketplace?” This question changes your thinking from “What salary do I need?” or “What fee can I charge?” to a more entrepreneurial question of maximized value. It also embraces the reality that the marketplace determines what you are paid, but you determine and control how valuable you are. This question will help you determine career choices as well as establish your business/pricing model if you are self-employed.

For a free personal branding assessment and other tools, click here.

Follow me on Twitter here: @fosterthinking

3 Elements Missing in Most Marketing Plans

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Over the past 15 years or so, marketing plans have essentially been replaced with marketing templates. In fact, you can do a Google search for “marketing plan template” and find 13,800,000 results. It is the efficiency of this template approach that sucks the life (and reality) out of most marketing plans. It creates a series of check-box assumptions that primarily serve the purpose of showing that you know how to fill out a marketing plan template. More concerning is that templates – and template thinking – cause marketers to miss three huge elements of modern marketing:

1) Influencer relations. Every market and every brand has influencers. These range from industry thought-leaders to journalists/bloggers to customers to employees. These smart, connected and vocal influencers are the individual sparks that add credence and acceleration to brands. Seeking out these influencers is typically relegated to only a pitch – when the long term value of connecting with these influencers and deeper more reciprocative way is often overlooked.

2) Thought-Leadership Content. While many brands have started to consistently embrace the concept of content marketing, most content vacillates between mildly useful to awkwardly written advertorials. The brands that are the best at content marketing are approaching it from a position of thought-leadership. This means having the human experts that touch the brand be the voice of the content – usually in the form of stories.

3) Draw a Crowd. If you can create a crowd, you have a force multiplier on creating sales opportunities and brand amplification. This typically means creating your own events – everything from live events, to webinars to blended events. When you host the party, you get to make the rules. This means you can choose the kind of events to have – and the kinds of crowds to draw. All towards broadening the circle of people who know you.

All three of these elements require a high level of strategic intention and clarity – which is why they are missing from most marketing plans. Strategic intention is getting the right things right before you consider any form of marketing plan. Things like core values, differentiators, message, audience profile, brand narrative, first impressions, culture, etc. Discovering and refining these brand elements will help you arrive at the conclusion that modern marketing is simply connecting with an audience at an emotional, authentic level – which is rarely a check box on the marketing plan template.

Follow me on Twitter: @fosterthinking

Check out my Folder of Free Stuff here.

Bacon Coterie Ep 2 with Dr Nicole Lipkin

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The second episode of the “Bacon Coterie”: my unfiltered, unscripted conversations with smart, connected and pithy people I know.  In episode 2, I visit with Dr Nicole Lipkin, a business pyschologist, speaker and author.  We cover a wide range of topics including self-awareness in leaders, over-coming failure, talent branding, emotional factors in leaders and much more.

More on Dr Lipkin:

Twitter

LinkedIn

Enjoy!

The Pressure of Story

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No brand. No story.

No story. No brand.

It is a common lament amongst a brand’s marketers that their brand’s story isn’t getting out, is misunderstood, isn’t reaching the right people.  Etc, etc. Excuse, Excuse.  When brands like Tom’s Shoes, Dollar Shave Club and SnapChat burst on to the scene with compelling stories, it amps up the pressure even more on established brands. In addition, word-of-mouth and it’s BFFs social media and content are the top 3 drivers of brands – and all 3 require stories.  Brands that struggle to tell a story seem to go one of two routes:

1) The Michael Bay model – explosions, over-production and bad dialog … but no story.

2) The Think Tank model – producing acres and acres of white papers, videos and press releases about how smart they are … but no story.

The root cause of this struggle to find and tell stories is simple.  Most brands are boring.  Imagine sitting down to write a manuscript for a mystery novel – and removing character development, a hero, a villan, a setting, a plot line and a reveal.  You would have what most brands are sending out as “story” – marketing BS.

I might be over-analyzing this, but I believe being boring is caused by fear.  Fear of disrupting the business model. Fear of doing somethign edgy that will upset someone.  Fear of being different – and different is bad – and different will get you fired.  Fear of wearing non-pleated pants.

For brands with a cultural of innovation, those fears don’t exist.  They fear being the same.  They fear being boring.  As such, story is easy for them.  They live and breath their story every day.

So there it is.  Fear creates boring. Boring creates no story.  No story means no brand.  So the real pressure isn’t to tell your story.  The real pressure is having the courage to be different.

Join me at SignalCon in Portland – 1/31 #humanbacon

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I am so honored to be the morning keynote at SignalCon in Portland, OR on Jan 31!   As I mention in the promo video, this is very much a home-coming to Portland!

Sponsored by the National Speakers Association Oregon Chapter, SignalCon is all about “advancing your message”.   I will be speaking on “Human Bacon” – how to create a compelling, authentic personal brand regardless of where you are at in your career or life pursuits.  In addition, there will be speakers and panels on messaging, style, presentation skills and much, much more.

To register and for more information, go to: http://www.signalconference.com/
Below is an intro video from Roger Courville, NSA-Oregon President:

Here is more info on the  “Human Bacon” topic: http://www.signalconference.com/?page_id=9589