#FocusFriday – Foolish Friday Edition

It’s April Fool’s Day. I have written a few blogs on April Fool’s Day and here is my in the context of #FocusFriday.abraham-lincoln-quotes-it-is-better-to-remain-silent-3

There are plenty of quotes about being a fool or looking foolish. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “A fool and his money are soon parted.” – Thomas Tusser an English poet and famer
  • “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” – Chinese Proverb
  • “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

In a day and era when personal branding and personal marketing have become so important can we afford to look foolish? Will looking foolish hurt your brand or is being foolish sometimes worth the risk?

henry_ford_quoteNobody wants to look like a fool. If you do, people laugh, they call you out and they certainly remember it. A reputation as a fool is something that no one wants or strives for. However, to truly succeed we need to try, fail and learn.  Sometimes you may look or sound foolish. Can you recover?  In my view if the effort was well intended and if you had a goal in mind the answer is yes. Why can’t you recover? 2ae8593ca4e95aa4bb15be5b28a63382Trying and failing is essential; the recovery process may be long and it may come with pain and remorse. There is a road to redemption if the effort was well intended to begin with.

quote-i-didn-t-like-the-idea-of-being-foolish-but-i-learned-pretty-soon-that-it-was-essential-daniel-day-lewis-17-43-30Here is what some great business leaders of past and present have said about looking like a fool or being foolish:

  • “Too many men are afraid of being fools.” – Henry Ford
  • “Who’s the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?” – Alec Guiness (as Obi Wan Kenobi)
  • “Dare to wear the foolish clown face.” – Frank Sinatra
  • “I learned pretty soon that it was essential to fail and be foolish.” – Daniel Day-Lewis, only three-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor
  • “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs

To achieve significant success and to stand out there is a possibility or likelihood of looking foolish. However, without risk there may be no reward. If you believe in what you are doing and are willing to take the risk of looking foolish, you may be rewarded opportunity and success. For many the experience alone is worth the journey.

steve-jobs-quotes-wallpaper-stay-hungry-stay-foolish-3Today there is a greater risk if your endeavors become a fool’s errand. Videos and all sorts of images when posted are seen by people all over the world. If you post something foolish, remember it will remain online for years, reverberating and potentially damaging your personal brand or career indefinitely.

  • “A fool is the one who fails to think about the ramifications of their actions and how they will reverberate and echo throughout his or her career.” – Bill Corbett, Jr.

The intent of my #FocusFriday blogs is to have people thinking about their actions. It is important to plan and act deliberately. Focus on what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Take the time to focus on what actions you will take and how this will impact our success and your career. Consider how each deliberate act will impact our plan and how you approach goals. Will this action impact your brand or your reputation?

Certainly plans and action can go awry and be misinterpreted. This is to be expected, the likelihood of them happening will be reduced by taking a slower and thoughtful approach before the action is taken.

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.

  • Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” – “I believe that those who don’t think, practice and plan run the highest risk of looking foolish in the worst way possible.  Those who think, plan and execute, may fail or miss the mark, however they will not look like the fool or be the fool. They will learn, grow and advance. The fool is the one who does not learn from these lesson or mistakes. His is destiny for fail and continue to look foolish.”

For more quotes on foolishness check out this story in Entrepreneur by Bill Murphy.

Focus Friday is all about being more effective and successful in business and life activities. Focusing will allow you to save time and achieve goals in both your personal and in your professional life.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

Join our groups on LinkedIn and Facebook.

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

No More Excuses, Sales People Must Leverage LinkedIn

Why is it that many salespeople don’t understand LinkedIn? In my personal branding and LinkedIn seminars I have had many people who are in sales offer answers to this question. The top answers: “I am not getting any leads.” “No ROI.” “Too much time is needed.” “I don’t have time” and finally, “I can’t find or reach prospects.”  There are many excuses; too many to list here.

Let’s consider some important factors before moving forward: competition exists in every industry and business is lost or gained based on opportunities and relationships. Salespeople must do everything that they can to beat or at least keep up with their competition. LinkedIn research has shown that half of all businesses will not work with vendors’ salespeople who have an incomplete LinkedIn profile. This point alone should be enough to motivate a salesperson to immediately work on completing their profile (with a professional photo headshot, of course.) Finally, in respect to competition, a salesperson who thinks that LinkedIn is not important should be aware that in most cases their competitors are active on LinkedIn and so are their prospects.

As a business owner and salesperson myself, I understand the frustration. We live in a time where we want immediate gratification and success. For highly focused and driven salespeople, a long lead time strategy that requires investment in time, energy, creativity and effort is a real challenge. However, any form of marketing success takes a plan, an investment of time and consistency.

In terms of consistency, Tony Robbins sums it up perfectly:

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”

To succeed with LinkedIn you can’t just “dabble in it” or create a profile and “set it and forget it” as Ronco’s Ron Popeil would say. A well written and complete LinkedIn profile has many competitive advantages which certainly should not be overlooked. However, expecting a tidal wave of leads to come simply by having a complete profile is a dream.

Bill linkedin sales 1Click here for Part 1 of my video of secrets for LinkedIn Salespeople that nobody is telling you. Click here for Part 2.

So let’s examine each of the excuses salespeople (and many others) have given to me.

I am not getting leads or a limited number or no ROI. As mentioned above, the “set it and forget it” strategy will not work on LinkedIn. You must transform your LinkedIn profile into a living entity and use it as a marketing tool to communicate with prospects. Start by visiting your profile to see who has viewed it, respond to messages and answer connection requests and endorsements. As part of your plan you should have a system for how you will respond to each of these relationship development triggers. Yes, each of these interactions allows you to interact and start conversations with people who are the most likely to become your clients or referral sources. Investing the time to build relationships will lead to success, but this success will take time and regular effort.

Too much time is needed/I don’t have time. Time is money. We all know this, especially people who work on commission. They have to spend their time as efficiently as possible. Studies of salespeople indicate repeatedly that their greatest frustration is wasting time or spending time educating prospects just to have them go someplace else. What’s the solution?  It starts with a LinkedIn marketing plan. Your plan must outline how you will use LinkedIn, what you will do, when you will do it and how much time you will invest. Your marketing schedule is critical for success and consistency. Put on your schedule the specific times you will spend using LinkedIn. However, before you actually do this you should create a “time budget.” A time budget is a clearly defined amount of time you will spend on LinkedIn each day, week or month.  Keep track of your time; you want to invest time but you don’t want to get sucked into a time-wasting vortex. Adjust your schedule but stay within the time parameters you have set. When you start seeing success, invest more time; if you see limited success keep to your schedule but try to work more efficiently.

Not having enough time is a little tricky to address. We are all faced with time constraints and pressure. This is a function of the fast-paced and high pressure society we live in today. The fact is that “not enough time” can no longer be an excuse. Salespeople need to make time to use LinkedIn and, in a more general sense, create a personal marketing plan. Fewer than 5 percent of salespeople, while they have sales goals and plans, lack a personal marketing plan. Time is needed to focus on marketing activities and actions in order to succeed. Start by creating a “time budget,” make a commitment to invest the time you need in the same way you allot a certain amount of time at the gym, making cold calls or networking. Investing time is not easy – nobody said it would be – an extra hour at night, getting up at 6 a.m. or focusing on LinkedIn on the train commute to work may be what works for you.

Still challenged? Here’s a secret: you don’t have to post on LinkedIn during the week and you don’t even have to do live posts. Your prospects and contacts will be using LinkedIn on weekends and there are programs such as Hootsuite that allow you to schedule posts on LinkedIn any time. This means that you may not need to spend as much valuable work week time marketing and building your brand on LinkedIn.

I can’t find or reach prospects. Nobody wants to spin their wheels and get frustrated. This is why consistency and a plan matters when using LinkedIn. A key part of any marketing plan is identifying who your targets are, your ideal clients/customers, referral sources and brand ambassadors.

To effectively reach these individuals or groups you must explore LinkedIn communities (groups) and learn how LinkedIn’s advanced search functionality works. Searching has become easier and more refined, with over 100 million Americans on LinkedIn, the likelihood of prospects being on the site is high. The key is finding them, connecting with them, communicating with them and presenting to them a value proposition or building a relationship with them. Create your ideal client profile and start searching. I recommend using as many filters as possible and geographic boundaries. Create your lists and get into the process of connecting. Connecting with people you don’t know is a challenge and certainly a hard selling approach is not the right method. Start by examining a person’s profile for commonalities, see what and how often they are posting and seek who they are connected with and what groups they belong to. Groups give you the best access to connecting with somebody you don’t know or don’t know well. However, your chances of connecting and doing business with somebody are greatly increased when you share a group affiliation.

Still struggling to reach the right decision makers? Here are two additional approaches that you can take. Remember, your competitors are also doing this. First, InMail. InMail is part of LinkedIn’s premium services. InMail allows you to communicate with anyone you are not connected with on LinkedIn. This type of communication has proven to be effective especially for people impossible to reach in other ways.

You’re standing out because your message is received in their personal email inboxes, and you’re standing out because receiving an InMail is still somewhat novel. It’s also very unlikely that your prospect is getting bombarded with LinkedIn mails from spammers and others trying to “sell” something.

Prospects will get messages, and you will enter their stream of thought. You have your shot at making an impression, so make the most of it. Craft a well thought out message and make sure that your profile is complete and ready for viewing.

Second, a recent paper issued by Sandler Sales Training in partnership with LinkedIn found that prospects are 100 percent more likely to positively respond to a call or message if they are called or communicated with within 5 minutes of posting on LinkedIn. If you are having trouble getting to speak with a prospect, by simply monitoring them and communicating with them right after they have posted will give you a much better opportunity to reach them on the phone.

There are no real excuses for not leveraging the power of LinkedIn. The process of making the sale using LinkedIn marketing is likely to take time, energy and effort. This investment is worth it to you, particularly when you have a plan and a commitment to consistency and understand that competitors are on LinkedIn may be using some of the same approaches. There are plenty of other secrets, strategies and marketing approaches for using LinkedIn to effectively grow your personal brand and business even more.

Have questions, need a resource? Contact me at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com.

Need to start creating a personal marketing plan?  Email the code PMP2016 to me at info@growyourpersonalbrand.com and I will send you a list of questions to ask yourself to get started.

Looking for some help setting up your LinkedIn plan? Visit www.growyourpersonalbrand.com

wjcorbett@corbettpr.com

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

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

Black Monday – Why Proactivity and Being Top of Mind Matters

A financial advisor speaks to a client on the phone.

A financial advisor speaks to a client on the phone.

The financial market meltdown which occurred today, Aug. 24, 2015, is a stark reminder that being proactive matters.

Planning in finance, business and marketing is critical. Today and in the days to come, we will be hearing a lot about portfolios, risk tolerances, retirement, investment and financial planning.

Having a plan for your finances and retirement is important but many Americans fail to plan. Unbelievably, more than half of Americans have not even spoken with a financial advisor. In a time where 30-40 percent of Americans continue to struggle to pay their bills each month, it is amazing so few look for assistance.

These facts and the market meltdown puts into perspective the need for advisors and others who work with clients in the financial professions to be proactive. Communicating regularly is important to prepare for the future and to prepare for eventual downturns.

Proactive communications is key for customer service, relationship building and to maintain trust. Advisors should communicate regularly with clients by phone, in-person and now with technology: Skype, GoToMeeting or Zoom.com. These services allow advisors to meet virtually and “share screens.” With screen sharing it is much easier for an advisor to help his or her client visualize where they are and where they want to go. Engagement with clients allows the advisor to assess risk tolerances as well as educate clients about different strategies.

A financial advisor consults with clients.

A financial advisor consults with clients.

Staying top of mind is also important. Advisors must communicate and share information regularly and when important news breaks. As we move through this current financial downturn, all businesses can learn a lesson: it should not take a crisis for a service provider to contact you. Your team should be in regular contact and understand your specific needs and challenges.

It is also vital for advisors and business professionals to listen to their clients and the marketplace. What are they discussing online and what are they sharing? What are they (clients) discussing online and what are they sharing? What are they reading and watching? During a day like today, clients are watching news and business news networks; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites are buzzing with news and commentary. Understanding your clients and where they get their news is important. Some advisers correctly ask their clients what media outlets they follow and they connect with clients on social media. Although constrained in some cases by compliance rules, there are no rules against listing and finding out client concerns.

A few takeaways:

  • Communicate regularly with clients to provide information and education.
  • Listen to markets and observe what interests and concerns clients.
  • Provide solutions or at least assurances when crisis periods take place.
  • Have an ongoing communications plan and process to take during challenging periods.
  • Encourage planning; this is important for everyone in terms of finances but also in terms of business, marketing and when seeking personal objectives

This, unfortunately, is an historic day. Let’s hope it does not mark the beginning of a new economic downturn or recession. We can learn from today that ongoing relationships can regular communications can and do play a vital role. Clients will gain great respect for any advisor who is proactive and thoughtful.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

Are Lifeguards Watching Out for Your Brand?

A lifeguard watching over a pool.

A lifeguard watching over a pool.

Tragically, Long Island beaches have experienced a number of rip currents this summer that have led to drownings. Rip currents drag swimmers out into deep water. Swimmers then drown as they become exhausted fighting to swim back to shore. Even non-swimmers can get swept away by a rip current when standing in shallow water. Rip currents, rip tides and undertows are powerful forces of the sea that are difficult for even the most experienced swimmers to contend with. To escape the rip, the person must swim parallel to shore and NEVER swim against the current.

Unfortunately, swimmers panic and tire out in a short period of time and/or they may not know what to do in this type of situation. As a former lifeguard, I know the challenges and pressures a lifeguard faces when watching water conditions.  Lifeguards use their eagle eyes to look out for the safety of swimmers. I never was a lifeguard at an ocean beach – only at pools and lakes – but I had to come to the aid of close to 50 swimmers in just two summers.

Jumping into the ocean when lifeguards are not on duty is a risk, one that no one should ever take. The same is true for your brand.  When you open your business and jump into marketing and promotion, once you put just one foot into the water you are exposed to threats and risks to your business, which could consist of angry customer reviews or comments on social media, negative word of mouth comments about your business or a product or a poor review in the media.

There are many ways a brand or business can get in trouble. Some problems are completely out of the control of the business owner or management: a fire, an unwarranted lawsuit, theft by an employee, an extended power outage or a computer virus. Any of these can cause a major disruption in business and will quickly have a negative impact on a brand.

Every business must have a crisis plan in place for the day when something unexpected happens. The crisis plan, like an insurance policy, will provide you with a process for reacting to the problem at hand. The plan is only part of your response. You also need a “lifeguard,” somebody who can help keep you away from danger and step in when something bad happens. In fact, you need more than one lifeguard to make up an effective support team.

Your professional business team.

Your professional business team.

Your business lifeguard team must be comprised of the following professionals:

Reputation Monitor 

We live in the digital age and social media is a key part of marketing and branding. A crisis for any business can start online or in the cyber world. Negative reviews, comments and articles can damage a brand or business. Failure to know that your brand is under attack is unacceptable. It’s imperative that you or your team monitor your brand online. If you don’t have the time or lack experience, have your digital marketing firm monitor and report to you regularly about your online reputation. They should also have a plan ready should your brand come under attack online or in the real world.

We regularly monitor online news, social media sites and websites to make sure that nothing negative is being said about our clients’ companies, their products, their services, their staff, or owners/management. Online reputations must be monitored and if there is a need to address an issue, it must be done in the right way. Negative reviews, comments or even videos can damage a company’s ability to attract and keep business.

Crisis Communication Expert / Public Relations – Media Relations Expert 

If a crisis situation impacts customers, business or a community, it is likely to become of interest to the media. Negative press can lead to loss of business, clients questioning their relationship with you and damage to your brand (personal or business). Having a communications plan and a crisis communications expert available to you is important. At Corbett Public Relations we work with clients on Long Island and across the nation to establish a procedure to follow during a crisis. We see ourselves as professionals who are promoters and protectors of brands. Reacting to a crisis situation in the media takes thought and consideration. Every incident is different and those with decades of experience, such as the individuals on my team, know how to manage communications in all kinds of situations. At a minimum the owner of a business should consult with a firm and have a plan for managing a crisis and know who to call if the situation escalates. Would you know what to do if the media calls or shows up with cameras at your office? If you don’t, you need a plan today and the help of a crisis communications expert.

Attorneys

Your attorneys protect you before, during and after an incident. Make sure to consult with them and discuss potential risks and know how to get in touch with them during nights and weekends should a crisis situation occur. Discuss your concerns with your attorneys so you know that they are prepared to handle the types of situations that could possible occur. Attorneys have different types of practices so make sure your attorney is experienced in handling crisis situations.

Accountant/CPA

Crisis situations can come from many directions. Bankruptcy, fraud, ID theft, tax issues and other financial issues require the assistance of accountants. Your accountant should act proactively to warn you about issues and potential problems that could occur from their perspective. Your accountants will also be part of your team to provide reports and financial information should you need to defend your business and brand in court or with authorities.

Insurance Professionals

Everyone and every business has insurance. In addition to knowing the coverage that your policies provide, it is critical that you also know and trust your insurance agent and local broker. These are the people who will fight for you if and when a crisis occurs.

Depending on the company that the policy is purchased from and the kind of policy, there are many details that you will need to know. Having a good relationship with your broker will help. We saw this play out on Long Island after Super Storm Sandy in 2012. Thousands of people and businesses were impacted by flooding and extended power outages. Local insurance professionals played an important part in helping clients submit property claims and get the funds they needed to rebuild and survive. Insurance companies will also assign attorneys to defend clients following incidents. Remember to look at this part of your policy to get an understanding of how it works and get the name of the firm that could potentially be defending you.

Often crisis situations occur without warning. Trying to manage them as they happen is a challenge. Take the time in advance to create a plan, put together a list of the critical actions that need to be taken and be sure that you have all necessary contact information at your fingertips. Keep copies of your plan at the office, at your home and in a place that is accessible online at all times.

Lifeguards are on duty to protect as well as to jump-in to save a swimmer in an emergency. Every business needs to have a team of “lifeguards” watching out for the management and the brand. The swimmer (the business owner or management) must also know what to do in case of a crisis and certainly never take risks when the lifeguards are not on duty.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

End of an Era for an Entertainment and Business Venue

Business Events, Memories and Lessons Learned at the Nassau Coliseum

Earlier this week I attended the Billy Joel concert that marked the final show at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island, New York. The show was both memorable and special. As a Billy Joel fan for decades, this was the first time I have seen him live in concert; I hope it is not the last. It was strange to walk into the venue that I have been to well over 100 times for concerts, games, business events and trade and consumer shows. Almost all the signage outside and within the area was gone.  The crowd walking in was upbeat and we all knew that this would be a memorable evening.

While You Were Out host

WPIX 11 “While You Were Out” host Leslie Segrete at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show.

Going to the Coliseum brought back over 30 years of memories of events I attended or promoted there. Corbett Public Relations specializes in securing publicity for clients sponsoring large events. Over the years, we have worked with an eclectic group of clients that held events at the Nassau Coliseum, including multiple home and consumer shows that featured all types of home renovation, remodeling and products and services companies. We also promoted the Nassau Coliseum Fair for several years, an event held in the parking lot.

A flyer for the March 2010 Home Show at the Nassau Coliseum.

A flyer for the March 2010 Home Show at the Nassau Coliseum.

The Fall and Spring Home Shows were very different from each other and interesting events. They included between 200 and 350 exhibitors, several seminars and contests sponsored by local radio stations. Shows ran for three days; Friday through Sunday. Shows were fun to be a part of for several reasons. During the time we promoted the home shows, television home makeover programs were very popular with consumers. You may remember the Discovery Channel programs While You Were Out and Trading Spaces. We were fortunate to have many of the show designers and carpenters as guests at these home shows. Leslie Segrete, Andrew Dan Jumbo and Frank Bileck were three “celebrities” that were great to work with; they were excellent educators and promoters. In the past I have written stories about working with celebrities; I can say that these three people were “good” to work with, not among the bad or the ugly. They cooperated with me to do media interviews, including early morning live remotes that started at 5 a.m. They carried show messages well and were friendly with audiences.

A John Deere vendor during one of the Home Shows at the Nassau Coliseum.

A John Deere lawnmower race broadcast live on WPIX 11 during the Home Shows at the Nassau Coliseum.

The exhibitors at the home shows, for the most part, were local businesses mixed with some national product vendors. It was enlightening and inspiring to work with local business owners seeking to grow their companies. We looked for new products and services to promote and we helped to educate exhibitors on how to promote themselves and attract attention. There are do’s and don’ts in the trade show business and we found that new exhibitors often needed assistance. The management company and my firm provided training and support. We also provided media training for exhibitors who were lucky enough to be part of our live or recorded television segments.

We also worked with local trade groups to produce a quality insert that was published and included in the Sunday edition of Newsday. Two home shows each year for several years was a lot of work, but the energy of working with entrepreneurs at the Nassau Coliseum was rewarding.

News 12 Long Island conducting an interview during a Home Show at the Nassau Coliseum.

Trading Spaces star Frank Bileck being interviewed by News 12 Long Island during a Home Show at the Nassau Coliseum.

We secured dozens of live and recorded media interviews before and during shows. This publicity attracted attendance and provided show exhibitors with valuable media coverage. When exhibiting at a show, it’s always good to communicate with the show’s PR team to let them know about new products and services and special promotions. I know from experience that they want to be given this information; it helps them and the exhibitors get the most marketing value out the show.

Dondi the Elephant during an event at the Nassau Coliseum.

Dondi the Elephant live at the Nassau Coliseum Fair on Fox 5 News.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the convention space will be revamped. This was needed at the Coliseum back when we did the shows and is sorely needed now to enhance economic development in the region. The old convention venue was actually an underground parking facility and was used to store equipment and even circus animals when it wasn’t used for trade or other shows. I can tell you it is not a good idea to have a trade show in the same space where just a few days before, elephants, camels and horses were being stabled.

From the marketing and event perspective, what I gained was a keen understanding of the logistics of a venue like the Nassau Coliseum and the rules. There were strict rules on hours of access, labor and media access; these rules became challenges. Thankfully, I was aware of most of them and was able to plan to ensure that media crews would be granted access and I knew when labor was required. It’s important to communicate with event production companies and venues well in advance. Doing this and knowing the rules and schedules is vital. We had one Home Show that was delayed due to a hurricane and another by snow. Exhibitors who followed the schedule and the rules got in, but those who did not missed a day of valuable exhibit time.

The Nassau Coliseum Fair.

Fox 5 News filming live at the Nassau Coliseum Fair.

The Nassau Coliseum Fair was an enjoyable event we publicized. For over two decades my firm has promoted large fairs, concerts and balloon festivals. More than one million people have attended the events that we have promoted. In July I wrote about what it’s like to do live morning TV. One memory related to the Nassau Coliseum Fair stands out. This particular fair took place in July when we were experiencing a heat wave and the event was in the parking lot, which didn’t help. We scheduled a live morning remote with the WPIX 11 Morning News.

Morning TV at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show.

Larry Hoff live on WPIX 11 Morning TV at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show.

Over the years I have done over 100 live mornings with WPIX and this wasn’t going to be any different, or so I thought. I arrived at about 5 a.m. The TV crew and truck were expected at 5:30 a.m. I had several performers set up for high wire performances and acrobatics. At 6 a.m. it started to rain very hard. A summer thunderstorm that was not predicted to hit the area materialized and very quickly the parking lot (with only a few drains) was flooded. We were actually in the middle of a flash flood. Thankfully, one of the acts, a family that operated a circus, had a big top and we took refuge. The skies were dark, the thunder roared, but the show went on even though the water level rose and the wind rocked the tent. Of course we checked the tent supports every 10 minutes to make sure we were safe. We changed some performers on the fly, but all the segments were done live under the tent with lights and some improvisation.

WLNY-TV 55 at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show.

WLNY-TV 55 at the Nassau Coliseum Home Show with Frank Bileck.

Fortunately, I knew that we had access to the big top and that the performers were spirited and I could count on them. We created a great morning with five segments of live and exciting TV coverage. We were a little wet by the end, but the job was done. Ironically, as the TV crew packed up and headed out of the parking lot of the Nassau Coliseum, there was a burst of sunlight starting a great weekend that was warm and dry.

Memories have been made, business opportunities were realized and lessons were learned. The renovation of the Nassau Coliseum will give us a more modern and a bit smaller facility. The area will be developed with new businesses, restaurants, entertainment and an improved exhibition hall. Soon this new venue will be where new memories will be made and new opportunities created.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

Marketing Lessons from Beach Wrestling

Beach Wrestling.

Beach Wrestling.

On a hot Saturday afternoon I went for a stroll on the boardwalk in Long Beach, Long Island, New York. Thousands of people were enjoying the beach, walking, biking, playing volleyball and wrestling. Yes, wrestling.

It is commonplace for concerts to be held along this iconic Long Island boardwalk. From a distance I could see a crowd gathered in front of a stage. I approached the stage but did not hear any music. I thought to myself maybe the performers are between songs or sets. As I got closer I could see there was some sort of competition going on. When I arrived, my assumption was correct.

I saw three rings. These “rings” were basically rope circles about 20 feet across. I wondered what was happening. Then a young Asian woman entered one of the rings. She warmed up and stretched. A few moments later a young man entered the ring. Before I knew it they were grappling. The match was quite good; as a high school wrestler, I appreciated the skill and the dedication of athletes like these two young people. A minute later another wrestling match started in the second ring. Two very large young men squared off. It was more akin to sumo wrestling than the match in the first ring with the smaller athletes.

Both matches lasted just a few minutes. I can’t see how they could go very long in the 90-plus degree heat. The young lady, by the way, did not win, but it was close.

You never know where you will be when you see something remarkable. I vaguely recall someone mentioning wrestling at the beach. I thought this was just a bunch of friends getting together and going at it. I learned that it is considered a real sport and that right here on Long Island people of all ages and both sexes are enthusiasts. It’s great to see people compete in sports that they love.

Beach wrestling at the Jersey Shore.

Beach Wrestling

What I watched was remarkable in another way. Although it was not the first time for me to see men and women compete against each other, this was not any ordinary competition. The young lady was obviously there to compete and no doubt she loves this sport. She appeared dedicated, skilled and fearless. She had the crowd on her side and she got the attention of those – like me – walking by. The lesson here is don’t be afraid to pursue your passions and don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. You may not win the match, but you are in the ring. Simply being in the ring allows you to make an impression on others and gain valuable experience.

Every week I talk with business people who relate their ongoing struggles to achieve the level of success that they want and need. Many fear taking chances with their marketing and marketing dollars. They sit on the sidelines; they don’t jump into the ring so they fail to get the attention they need to grow and succeed.

If you are not ready to wrestle (build your brand and market yourself), then find a coach, get some training and start preparing (read books, blogs and listen to podcasts or attend seminars). Business is a wrestling match; you must get in the ring with your competition to show the audience (your prospects) your skills and abilities. When you make a positive impression in the ring, you will gain respect and this will stimulate business growth.

By Bill Corbett

Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World 

@liprguy

@corbettpr

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