Beware of the Groundhog: Groundhog Day Lessons

Punxatawny PhilAs public relations officials, we are constantly on the lookout for media opportunities for clients; some even call them “PR stunts.”   February 2, aka “Groundhog Day,” is one that is often used by politicians.  Everyone wants an end to winter so why not?  The politician will get the photo op and even if the hog sees his shadow, it’s still a win right?  Well, ask New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. In 2014, when doing the Groundhog Day event, he dropped Staten Island Chuck. Not a good move. Instead of seeing a shadow, Chuck saw stars. And unfortunately, did not recover. (See links below)

What do we take away from this? First, make sure when you do a special event or media event you are well prepared. Walk through what you have to do. Talk about contingencies and if you are not comfortable with picking up a groundhog, don’t do it. The negative press that will be short term and long term can be problematic.

From a marketing perspective, Groundhog Day is cute and there are certainly campaigns and social media comments that can be used to attract some attention.  Groundhog Day is Feb. 2. This year it falls on the first Tuesday of February. Groundhog Day can be a day to actually get your marketing on track. If you have stumbled and have failed with your marketing New Years resolutions, get started again and set your goals for February. You have six weeks till spring (despite what Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck and Malverne Mel say).Groundhog

Need some inspiration and a laugh? Watch Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and directed by the late Harold Ramis.  The marketing and life lesson here? Just ask Einstein and his famous quote on the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Bill Murray’s character in the movie – Phil Conners – is stuck in a day that he is forced to relive over and over and over again.  Unbeknownst to him, he is changing what he is doing every day. He may not know why at first, but eventually figures out that he has to change who he is to get the girl. After potentially living the same day over and over for years, he makes the changes and he wakes up on February 3. In marketing we have to adapt and change our messages until they resonate with target audiences. Look at what works and what does not. Make the changes and keep track.  Learn from Phil Conners and take Einstein’s advice.

http://nypost.com/2014/09/25/groundhog-dropped-by-de-blasio-died-of-internal-injuries/

http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2014/09/25/staten-island-zoo-may-stop-allowing-mayors-to-handle-groundhogs/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107048/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-phil/post-football-depression-_b_1251109.html

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Personal Brand Actions to Take in 2016 – Start Today

hourglass 2016.jpgStrategies and Predictions

I recently wrote a blog about taking action steps to achieve goals. As we end 2015, let’s look at some specific action steps you can take to Grow Your Personal Brand in 2016, achieve your goals and attain long term success.

Make time, don’t waste time.

First, stop talking about not having enough time. Recognize that your time is valuable and you need to focus on what you need to get done. If you want be successful you may have to get up early, stay up late and work more. Do you know that billionaires typically get up three hours before the “work day” starts? Set your priorities and create real deadlines. Block off the time you need each day to move closer to your goals.

As part of time saving, examine social media activities. Are you getting the ROI (return on investment) or ROE (return on effort)? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know,” then it is time to re-evaluate these activities. For most small business people and solo entrepreneurs your time is very valuable; Tweeting, Facebooking and posting images to Instagram is probably not the best use of your time. If it is not generating income or leads, delegate it or stop doing it. Focus on what works in terms of business development and sales.

Focus

archery[1].jpgWe live in a world where distractions are killing our productivity and sucking away our time. One way to save your valuable and precious time is to learn how to remove distractions. Distractions hurt us in many ways more than just stopping us from doing what we need to do – they make us lose focus and concentration. It takes 10 to 25 minutes to get back into our productivity zone again. What’s the solution?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Put your cell phone in another room or turn it off (I personally need to have it in another room or I am tempted to check it every 5 minutes). Do whatever you can to get it out of your view and reach. I know you are afraid to go without your smartphone. What do I do? I go into settings and forward my calls to my office. My staff answers or it goes to voice mail. Give staff, colleagues, clients and friends the message that you can only be interrupted in the case of a real emergency.
  2. Remove distracting sounds. Sounds break up your flow and concentration. No surprise, this is a natural response to danger. What can you do? Try noise cancelling headphones or ear plugs. For some people it requires moving to another room and closing the door or even going to another building.  Create a distraction proof environment.
  3. Turn off all message notifications from social media, texts or email. This is hard to do, we want to be connected but these messages distract and even if you can avoid looking, you know you really want to. Your scheduled time should be sacred and this means email and other digital messages should not distract you.   Emails and texts can wait an hour or two.

Create that Plan

I always ask my LinkedIn or personal branding students if they have a plan for marketing with LinkedIn or a personal marketing plan. Only 5 percent have a plan. For this year make the commitment – not resolution – to create a plan. You need to have a road map and a plan to get to where you want to go. You may be successful without a plan but think about how much more successful you could be with one. I believe the average sales person, business owner or entrepreneur will be 20 to 50 percent or more effective and successful if they simply created a plan and modified this plan every quarter and annually. From a personal perspective, I have a plan with goals and multiple action steps. I regularly achieve goals when I have a plan, when I don’t those goals take longer or are never achieved. The plan is critical for achieving goals, staying focused and saving time.

Create Your Video(s)

If you don’t have a video for your brand today you’re falling farther and farther behind your competitors. This statement is true not matter what industry you are in. Why? In the mobile age people (a.k.a. customers and prospects) don’t have time and they want video content. If you are not providing it and a competitor is, guess what?  The competitor is winning the battle for attention. The other more long term problem with not having video content is the fact that you are falling behind in the content war. By not creating content and getting comfortable communicating it on video you do not appear to be up-to-date and ready for the challenges of the digital age. Communications is an art and a skill, it requires practice. While anyone can fire up a camera or smart phone and shoot a Periscope video or post a video to YouTube, it takes practice to learn how to speak and present a quality message on video.

If you don’t have a video you are not conveying your brand message to contacts, prospects and referral sources. These are the people who create your brand and reputation. Without your personal content to guide them, perceptions will be inaccurate, they will not know what you stand for and they certainly will be less likely to hire you or recommend you to others.

Two predictions about video in 2016

  1. Video on LinkedIn will be much more important and likely will be positioned higher in profiles. Making/having a personal video not only will be needed on LinkedIn, but required for optimal success. Those who are ahead here will dominate for at least a year.
  2. Live streaming video from Periscope, Facebook and others will become much more widely used. If you are not doing this you’re going to get beaten by competitors, lose market share and you will not project the right image to those seeking you or your services.

Be Consistent with your persona marketing and messages

Your message and personal brand must also be consistent in the real world and online. Make sure all of your profiles, images and videos are consistent with your current personal brand and what you are passionate about. Confusion in the marketplace is not something you want when people are looking at you and considering you for a referral, recommendation or to hire you.

To succeed in marketing and in business you must present your messages and content regularly to your audience. Make the commitment this year to be consistent with your marketing. Regularly create and post videos, write your own blogs, post on on social media, attend events, send email newsletters and content and execute your marketing plan. Examine what works and don’t be afraid to change. Remember that for your personal brand to resonate with audiences you must have a consistent message that is delivered often. Consistency and frequency build and maintain trust, a critical component to personal brand growth and business success.

Have a great 2016 and make the commitment today to Grow Your Personal Brand.

Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com to learn more about personal branding training programs, events and more.

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

Actions speak louder than words. Goal Setting for 2016

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I am always speaking and writing about the importance of planning particularly in terms of marketing. This is the time of year when we make our plans and personal resolutions.

Forget about New Year’s resolutions. Think about your goals and how you are going to achieve them. With goals in mind it is now time to take action. Create an action plan for the days remaining in 2015 and for the year ahead. This will be your road map for achieving your goals. Remember actions do speak louder than words.

We have all heard this axiom before. It comes to mind when I am planning and coordinating with clients who are working toward goals. It is wise to have goals but action is necessary to achieve them.

So how do you go about achieving your goals and creating action steps? After you have set your goals, ask yourself if they are realistic and achievable. You must recognize that it may take months, or even years to reach one or more of your major goals. Think of all of those people who appear to be overnight successes.  The fact is that for most it took years to reach their goals and dreams.

First, start with goals for different aspects of your life:

  • Personal
  • Business
  • Life
  • Family

Second, write (or type) down these goals – I am not the first person to recommend this. But it does work. Keep your goals top of mind. Your goals can be long, short or – like me – bullet pointed.

Remember, it is important to be reminded of your goals – post them where it is impossible to miss seeing them (or hearing them) regularly, such as:

  • Create a graphic and make it the opening screen of your Smartphone
  • Send yourself a daily pre-programmed text or email
  • Print a list of goals and tape it to the edge or top of you monitor or phone
  • Record your goals as a voice mail message or memo that you can play back on your phone, listen to on your way to work every day and on weekends

Again, your goals must be achievable. If not, use the divide and conquer method:

  • Take one day/step at a time – every step may involve multiple actions.
  • Write your goals down even if the list is very long.
  • Consider it a learning process that can be repeated when working on other actions or goals
  • Accept the fact that it could take years to achieve certain goals, take pride in smaller accomplishments on a weekly or monthly basis.

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How do you create an action plan?

Start by writing out the specific actions that must be taken to achieve each one of your goals. This could take considerable time and the list will likely be lengthy. The more detailed the list of actions, the better. Many small actions combined lead to major achievements. Think of this like a marathon runner. The runner practices for months, running a few miles, then further every day. They build up the stamina and endurance to run the full marathon. But even on marathon day, each mile completed is a step toward the ultimate goal.

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Click here for a video of my tips for creating an action plan for yourself for 2016.

 

An action plan takes thought and you need to ask yourself a number of questions:

Write down and determine the answers to these questions:

  • What do I need to achieve my goal?
  • How much time do I need?
  • How much money do I need?
  • Can I do it myself or do I need a team? (Who would be on the team?)
  • What support do I need?
  • What knowledge do I need to have or need to acquire?
  • Who can I ask for help or advice?
  • Where and when do I start?

Remember, just as actions need to be examined separately, you will want to treat each questions the same way.

Don’t be reluctant or afraid to ask for help from friends, family, mentors, and coaches. You might even post your questions online.

Go to free or paid resources such as podcasts, books, seminars, online webinars or courses/classes.

If you are asking yourself, “How can I complete each step or task and then move to the next?” Here is a helpful example:

A consultant determines his goal for 2016 is to increase his income by $50,000.

The consultant could use the following process:

1) Create a marketing plan

  • Identify the target market
  • Create a list
  • Create email blast and content
  • Create a letter or sell sheet
  • Create a schedule for sending marketing material out
  • Create a follow up process
  • Create online assets and web content

2) Create relevant promotional content

3) Develop a budget for how much money to spend

4) Decide a budget for how much time to devote

5) Develop a timeline or schedule for executing actions

6) Identify experts or friends who could review the plan and or provide advice

7) Create a tracking system for progress and assessment of efforts

Remember, each action contains a series of steps and involves work that must be completed in order to move ahead and continue on the pathway that will enable you to ultimately achieve your goals.

When you have completed your action plan, go over it again and ask others to review it before you take action. They may be able to spot something that you have missed or offer a more effective approach.

Many people wait until New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day or the first work day of the New Year to reflect on the past and make sincere and purposeful resolutions. Don’t procrastinate define your goals for the future today and start on your action plan now.  The head start is worth the effort.

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

Giving Tuesday, a Much Better Tradition

Give today and share information regularly about the causes you support all year long.

We have now passed the big consumer shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These are two “holiday traditions” that I really wish would go away. Traffic at the malls and hyped up media coverage of people buying items really does not interest me. As a person who embraces capitalism and business I understand the drive for profit but when shopping starts on Thanksgiving and people act dangerously crazy just to save a few dollars it does not make sense to me.

A tradition that I do like that has grown in popularity is Giving Tuesday. This is a day were the focus is on giving and supporting charities. It is truly better to give than to receive and this day puts this into perspective and hopefully reminds people of the importance of the season and other. We thankfully live in a wealthy and giving nation full of the most generous people on earth.

Americans don’t just give on this one day but they give all year long and step up when adversity hits at home or abroad.

From a marketing perspective, this day offers an opportunity to think about what is important to us. What causes groups or institutions connect with us and empower us? I am on the executive boards of two not-for-profits: The Marty Lyons Foundation and the Theodore Roosevelt Council of Boy Scouts (Nassau County, New York).

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Marty Lyons is interviewed on FiOS 1’s “Heroes On Our Island”

 

The Marty Lyons Foundation was created by former New York Jets Star Marty Lyons. Marty, a member of the Legendary “New York Sack Exchange” from the 1980s, faced a period of tragedy and from this created the Foundation which would go on to grant over 7,100 wishes for children facing terminal and life threatening illnesses. The Foundation is going strong in its 35th year. Check out the Foundation at www.martylyonsfiundation.org.  Over the years my firm has helped to get the Foundation some very positive media coverage – this is a link to a Heroes on Long Island from FiOS1 News which tells the story of the Foundation and how it is helping families and children facing unimaginable situations.

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Marty Lyons is interviewed for FiOS 1’s “Heroes On Our Island”

 

Before the birth of my children I knew that I wanted to do more with organizations that empower young people. I volunteered to help with publicity for my local Boy Scouts organization. Today I am Vice President of Marketing for the Theodore Roosevelt Council of Boy Scouts. The council provides programs and services for over 10,000 local Nassau County Long Island young people. It has been a privilege to work with this group and support these programs. Young people today are faced with many complex challenges and need support to build confidence and leadership abilities. I am pleased that this tradition is alive and well on Long Island. This is the council’s website for information if you are interested: http://www.trcbsa.org/.

Scouts are always up for a challenge this is a video news coverage from News 12 Long Island of scouts at their studio last year.

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Boy Scouts of the Teddy Roosevelt Council at News 12 studios in Woodbury in 2014.

 

Why do I bring up these charities?  Giving Tuesday is a good day, like Thanksgiving and other holidays, to reflect on what we are and should be thankful for. Today think about those who are unfortunate and in need. Offer you help and support. If it can be a financial donation, great. If you can’t give, then share their message. Use your “influence” on social media to share information, stories and the mission and purpose of the organizations that you support. Tell people why you are a supporter and what role you play. Give the gift of awareness and attention. Not-for-profits struggle, to get their messages out to potential supporters and donors. Help them today. However, make supporting and promoting these worthy causes part of your regular marketing activities.   Give today, but support and share all year long.

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

Make the Truth Be Your Friend

Witness 1

It is not uncommon for critics and others to call PR professionals spin doctors or manipulators of perception. The fact is that we seek to present clients in a favorable way and position them as leaders and experts. Many PR professionals and my team take our role seriously and ethically. In order to effectively promote a company or individual, the effort must be solidly founded in truth.  Companies, individuals, marketers and hopefully politicians who lie will be caught and called out for it.   Communications professionals and marketers must accept responsibility as Picture1well.  Today consumers may not always expect great customer service, but they do expect honesty.

When developing a PR strategy it is critical that you identify what your vision is and what your messages will be. What will your brand stand for? This may not be an easy question to answer right away, but it must be based in truth. It takes some thought and discussion. What a business brand stands for or what an individual’s personal brand is must be stated upfront and for it to resonate, it must be honest and truthful. Including lies in a brand story will cause problems and when business Picture2owners or those who are there to defend them do not have facts and truth as their friends, the challenge may be insurmountable. When brands and individuals are caught lying, it destroys trust and trust is the currency of success.

Some embrace the “fake it till you make it” philosophy or approach. This is a dangerous path to pursue and could destroy a growing brand or even one that is established. Reputation is based on truth. Look at examples such as Brian Williams of NBC News, disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner and professional cyclist Lance Armstrong. Each was caught lying and look what happened to their brands.

Invest in the truth and it will grant you significant rewards.

Weiner

Make truth your friend and you will have no regrets.

Fireworks: Marketing and Business Lessons

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Over the past few days you probably have enjoyed Independence Day fireworks.  Millions of Americans gather to watch and enjoy fireworks and celebrate.  I have had the pleasure of being in some amazing places to watch fireworks including Washington DC, Boston, New York City and the United States Military Academy (West Point, New York).  One year I was flying home from a trip on the 4th of July and could see dozens of shows take place at the same time.   It was amazing to see so many shows taking place in small towns and cities across America from above.  1-jpg

Here are three quick marketing lessons we take away from these pyrotechnic displays:

Planning

Every fireworks show requires planning. Some of the more complex shows such as the ones done in Boston, Washington DC and New York require months of planning and preparation for shows that will last for the most part less than an hour.  This is a significant investment in time, energy and money.  From a marketing perspective, planning is critical for campaigns and ongoing efforts.

When seeking to grow business through marketing, planning is also an important part of the process.   My mission continues to be to get small business people focused on their marketing and to have them create business and personal plans.   A plan can be developed quickly but it should be done in a thoughtful way.   The goal of marketing is to attract attention and the interest of prospects.  An effective marketing campaign just like a well thought-out fireworks display will capture and keep attention.   Prospects who are engaged will transition into clients and customers.

Safety

We have to remember that behind the beauty, fireworks are dangerous.  Every year we hear about accidents.   It is important that all safety protocols are followed and plans are in place to manage any potential accident or malfunction.  In marketing we have to be prepared if something goes wrong.  For example a pre-scheduled social media post that hits during a breaking news story about a tragedy can cause problems and certainly projects insensitivity.    Crisis situations can happen for any number of reasons; some could be the fault of the business or employee or others come out of the blue.  When time and effort are being invested in marketing it is important to take some additional time to discuss possible problems and devise strategies for working through them.  On a larger scale, every business needs to have an emergency plan in place to communicate with customers, staff and vendors.   From a public relations perspective procedures and policies need to be in place in order to manage the situation.  Management and staff need to know who is permitted to speak with the media and how to respond to calls from the media.   This is a blog that I wrote on the topic of emergency preparedness and communications for business.  The inspiration behind this blog were the two hurricanes that hit Long two years in a row.

https://corbettpr.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/communications-planning-before-natural-disasters/

Creativity and Experiences

Why do we love fireworks?  The loud explosions and the spectacular colors are part of the reason.  The best shows are very creative and use all different kinds and sizes of fireworks.  These displays are often masterfully choreographed with patriotic music.   Boston’s fireworks are remarkable and when you watch them with the Boston Pops Orchestra playing along it creates a memorable experience.   The patriotic exuberance can be felt among the crowd in Boston.    I continue to this day to tell people about my experience in Boston over a 4th of July weekend because of the memorable experience.   Below are some images of my Boston 4th of July visit.   Creativity is more important today than ever before.  With so much competition for time and attention, creativity the key to attracting and keeping audiences.  Sales focused, boring content with no purpose or passion will be overlooked or forgotten.

Experiences are an important part of marketing and interacting with customers.   Whether it is in a retail shop, on Facebook or at a trade show, the experiences you create with your audience allows them to get to know you (employees or staff), your product or services.   It is through remarkable experiences and interactions that connections are made and memories created.   Good experiences are remembered, but great experiences are talked about and shared.    The same is true for negative experiences, except people are much more likely to share and comment to friends and online about bad experiences. If you’re disappointed by a fireworks show would you talk about it and would you think twice about going to that show next year?   Everyone has choices and if you do not deliver exceptional customer experiences every time they will look elsewhere.

Planning, safety, creativity and offering memorable experiences are all important in business.   Like a spectacular fireworks display we have the ability to wow our audiences, create memorable experiences and thrive. However, planning is critical for success and we must always be prepared to address challenges.

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Revisited 2015 – July 4th Independence Day – Lessons from the Founding Fathers for Social Media and Personal Branding

I wrote this blog 5 years ago it is still relevant today.  However, the world has changed.  Today Americans have more ways to market and communicate.  With smartphone technology in our hands we have enormous power to broadcast our messages and engage with others. I call smartphones, PMD’s Personal marketing Devices they can also be seen as your own personal broadcast center. (More on this in a future blog)

The technology we have however is not being leveraged effectively by small business people.  Many don’t see the opportunity because they are overwhelmed with time pressures and lack of understanding of the power that they have. Understanding marketing and why and how it must be done is also a challenge.

It’s time for small business people from across America to take charge of their destiny and bring their brands and messages to target audiences.   Failure to utilize the marketing tools that are available (for free) today will see many smart and capable people struggle to succeed in the new economy and within the new marketing paradigm.

As we look back at the lessons of our Founding Fathers below, consider what they would do today.  I believe that they would be regularly leveraging social media, blogs and video to get their message to the masses. They would engage in conversations and share their vision for the future.  They would be making connections, building relationships and beating their competition.

The pursuit of happiness lies in our hands both literally and figuratively.  Use marketing technology today as a vehicle for achieving success and your American dream.

First Published 5 Years Ago 

Today we celebrate Independence Day, July 4.   Beyond the fireworks and BBQs, we all should think about the great nation that we have the pleasure to be part of, and the many people who gave up their lives to give us the freedoms we enjoy.

Exactly 234 years ago, a group of brave, brilliant and industrious individuals met in a steamy Philadelphia room and agreed to do something that had never been done before—start a revolution.  The risks were great; the price that was paid was high in terms of lives lost, lives destroyed and money, but in the end the reward was unmatched in human history.  The American Revolution gave us a country where freedom is sacred.

Today despite a challenging economy we have the freedom to express ourselves and pursue our business as well as our personal dreams.  For many the dream is being an entrepreneur or a small business owner or simply pursuing a career in a chosen profession or industry.  Having this choice is an integral part of our national character and a driver of the entrepreneurial spirit.  While entrepreneurs and small businesses are under attack from many directions, the American entrepreneurial spirit lives on.

The information age has brought with it new media vehicles which are allowing individuals to voice their opinions, develop creative ideas and start new businesses.  Like the minutemen of Lexington and Concord, individuals can stand up, and take control of their own destinies like never before.  Like the “shot heard around world” that started the American Revolution a simple Facebook post or Tweet can literally be seen around the world just in seconds.

Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Adams, Hancock and the other Founding Fathers all understood the importance of individuality and expression.  They were passionate individuals with a mission, and the creativity and drive to achieve their goal – a free and independent nation.

While the Founding Fathers did not have social media vehicles and platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Youtube, Flickr and Foursquare I am sure that they would have taken advantage of them as mediums for communicating with contacts, public, friends and others interested in “the cause.”  Social networking and marketing did not exist, but these individuals knew the importance of publicity, having a personal brand, word of mouth marketing, networking, effective writing, publishing and public speaking. Do these skills and approaches sound familiar?  These techniques and others are the same that individuals need to capitalize on today to build their own personal brands, the foundation for a success in life, in business and in any community.

Did Franklin and Madison have a Blog?  Not exactly, however they did have a printing press.  They were able to create a buzz using well written content, printed books, flyers and newspapers. Papers and printed materials were circulated in pubs and homes across the 13 colonies and beyond.  People held discussion sessions and analyzed the information they were provided.  They debated and came up with their own comments and then shared materials with others who they thought would be sympathetic to their dreams of an independent democratic nation.

Today’s social media and personal branding gurus like Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)Dan Dchawbel (@DanSchawbel),  Guy Kawasaki (@guykawasaki), Peter Shankman (@skydiver), Seth Godin and others are taking similar approaches as the Founding Fathers.  The Founding Fathers published articles and spoke to small and large groups to educate, motivate and inspire individuals to become part of a movement that included the individual but also was much larger than any single person.

Let’s look at some of our Founding Fathers and how they relate to personal branding and communications.  There is much we that can learn from them and ways we can apply these lessons to social media marketing and personal branding efforts today.

George Washington – Founding Father and First President of the United States of America.  Washington is also

known for his leadership abilities, speaking skills, political savvy and ability to stand out in crowd.  Although he did not sign the Declaration of Independence his leadership of the Continental Army made him a front runner to lead the country after the war.

During the Revolutionary War era it took weeks or months to get information or important messages out to thousands of people, or just one letter from one colony to another.  Hand written copies of the Declaration of Independence were circulated by hand around the 13 Colonies and read in front of groups gathered in pubs and in front of churches and other community buildings.

Today we can disseminate messages and blog articles in seconds using social media sites and digital communications.  The speed of distribution may have changed but the goals of communicating ideas messages and attracting attention remain the same.

We can learn from George Washington an important lesson, humility.  When offered the opportunity to become king of the new nation, he turned it down.  He also turned down the opportunity to run for a third term as president; instead he retired.  In today’s world full of online and off line self promoters and overexposed celebrities seeking the lime light, humility is a trait that seems to be in short supply.  We could all benefit from more people following Washington’s example of humility and grace.

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, agonized for weeks to find the right language and consulted with other Founding Fathers to craft this historic document.   We learn from this example that writing passionately and choosing the right words is important.  On Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other writing quality has certainly suffered. Today it remains true that quality writing and compelling content will attract followers, and poor and uninteresting content will drive them away.

In our fast paced mobile technology society we are constantly on the move. A telling example of this is that on average there are more than 3,000 Tweets being placed every second.  Jefferson’s quote: No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing,” is apropos for today.  Many people are always “doing,” (communicating).  However, how much doing is actually wasting time? How much time is being spent on social media marketing with no measured results? Social media marketing programs must be planned and have goals. Without goals or a plan, the “doing” is nothing more than wasting time.

John Hancock – We know the name and we know the signature, he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence and did so in large and bold script.   John Hancock knew the importance of standing out, making a statement and doing something different.  My favorite quote from Hancock is: “The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and to influence their actions.” This statement is especially true today. To be successful in business relationships and trust need to be built.  To influence people to act, purchase products or services, information and proof of abilities need to be conveyed to the target audience.  Be bold, but also have objectives and consider how relationships are being forged.

Benjamin Franklin – Frequently clients ask what should be said or what information should be put out on social media streams?  This quote from Benjamin Franklin answers the question perfectly: Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”

Benjamin Franklin was truly an original and individual who understood celebrity and personal branding.  His exploits, scientific experiments and inventions as well as his larger than life personality made him a celebrity in France before he arrived to solicit their support for the “cause.”

We have much to learn from Franklin but for now, his grasp on being relevant and authentic can be our take away.  If something interesting or newsworthy is done write about it, don’t just write something for the sake or writing something.

John Quincy Adams – Are you a leader or do you aspire to be one in business, politics or in another field? If your answer is yes then this quote from John Quincy Adams is most appropriate:If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” To be a leader you need to be relevant and interesting.  Self-promotion and self-serving actions will not attract the right attention or inspire others.  Remember that being successful is not what inspires; what motivates and inspires others are the stories and examples of overcoming challenges and hardships to become successful.

There is much we can learn from studying our Founding Fathers.  From humility to creating relevant content their lessons can be applied to many facets of business and life today.

Every day of the year we should celebrate the precious gift of freedom we have been given.  We continue to enjoy this freedom because of the sacrifices of those who came before us and those who fight for us today in foreign lands and on other fronts.  We can honor them by embracing the American entrepreneurial spirit and following the examples set by our Founding Fathers.

All comments welcome, Happy 4th of July.

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