What If YOU Were Campaigning in Iowa & New Hampshire?

By Jeff Beals

I hate to bring this up because I’m afraid many of us are already sick and tired of the 2016 presidential campaign.  The Iowa Caucus is on February 1st and the New Hampshire Primary on February 9th.  Those two events will lead to an even more deafening cacophony of campaign rhetoric that won’t subside until after November.

Given the avalanche of political drivel we are about to endure, I hope you’re not irritated that I bring up politics in this article, but trust me: it’s for a good reason.

Many years ago, I volunteered on the political campaign of a local businessman, who was running for city council. During the campaign, I attended a number of political events, but one candidates’ forum stood out in my mind.

Candidates from each city council district gathered in a high school gymnasium in front of an audience comprised of community activists, neighborhood leaders, local busy-bodies and a smattering of other interested persons. Each candidate had just a couple minutes to tout his or her candidacy.

One candidate – a long-shot, political newcomer, who ended up losing in a landslide – had the most unique speech. He stood at the podium and said, “They tell me that political campaigning is all about name recognition. If that’s the case, my name is…” He proceeded to repeat his name over and over again, in a melodic/rhythmic way. He would say a couple sentences of substance, and then once again, repeat his name over and over. It was cute. People laughed. I’m not sure how seriously the audience took him, but he made an impression. I vividly remember that stump speech many years later.

While this nontraditional politician didn’t have the financial resources to win, he was right about one thing – it’s all about name recognition. At the very basic level, a politician running for office must focus first and foremost on establishing name recognition. The same thing applies to any professional working in any field. If you are going to market yourself, you must establish a recognized name among members of your personal target audience.

Political campaign strategy can teach us a great deal about our own self marketing. In establishing name recognition, politicians are good role models. Even though many of us find politics to be distasteful, we must think like politicians, because each of us is in a lifelong personal campaign.

Politicians build campaign strategies that are fundamentally based upon establishing a name. Frankly, the average voter is politically unsophisticated and poorly informed about election issues and candidates. Though I have a master’s degree in political science, I must confess that this sometimes applies to me too. Sure, I’ll be quite knowledgeable of some candidates or ballot issues, but there are always a few about whom I know nothing.

When typical voters come to an obscure race far down on the ballot, chances are they know very little. In this situation, typical voters first look at the names to see if they recognize any of them. If one name sounds more familiar than the others, that is who gets the vote.

Politicians know this, and they act accordingly. That’s why most political advertising is so image oriented and not focused on complicated policy issues. That’s why you see acres and acres of yard signs littering the cityscape during each election cycle. It’s why we are inundated on radio and television with fatiguing political commercials. Pay close attention, and you’ll notice that each commercial says or shows the candidate’s name multiple times in a 30- or 60-second timeframe.

Campaign consultants know that their political clients must use a variety of media, a “media mix,” to develop name recognition. In order to plant your name firmly in each voter’s cranium, you must penetrate their personal lives. To do this, politicians come at us through television, radio, social media, direct mail, and in most local races, they literally knock on our doors. They know that frequency matters, which is why the same signs pop up everywhere and the same commercials air over and over again.

A politician doesn’t miss a parade, a sporting event or any fish fry on a Lenten Friday. Any gathering of potential voters becomes a politician magnate. Campaign managers work feverishly to get their candidates on the news, hopefully portrayed in a positive light. Everything is focused on getting as many positive impressions possible without the candidate saying anything of deep substance.

There’s no question: In politics, business and personal marketing, it all begins with name recognition.

Like politicians, businesses repeat their names or brand names over and over again, using a carefully chosen media mix. It works. When a customer is searching on Google for a possible vendor, she will find a list of several companies. On her screen, they all look the same. Who will she call? Most likely, she will choose a company she’s heard of. To most customers, a familiar name feels like a safe choice.

In politics, voters rely on the candidate’s name identification. In business, customers rely on familiarity.

Since YOU are a business unto yourself, and since you are engaged in a lifelong campaign to promote yourself, you must establish strong name recognition and personal brand awareness right now. If you do that, you will have an easier time finding clients, getting access to whatever matters to you and playing a bigger role in your company, community and world.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, sales consultant and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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If Storytelling Makes a Fortune for Disney, Shouldn’t You Be Doing It?

By Jeff Beals

The Walt Disney Company is consistently named as one of the most admired companies in the world. Both investors and customers love many things about Disney, but a certain attribute has made the company truly special and has given it staying power in the volatile media industry.

“What has set apart Disney is its determination to put storytelling at the heart of its business and its ability to get its hands on new characters capable of bringing fans back again and again.”

So stated a recent article in The Economist entitled, “The Force Is Strong in This Firm.” The article claims that Disney has doubled profits over the past five years to $8.4 billion in large part because it has shifted its focus to high-quality content instead of focusing on the means of distributing content. In other words, Disney’s business rests on a rock-solid foundation of great storytelling.

The article further states, “Stories should offer Disney protection against the currents sweeping across the (media) industry.”

The art of storytelling is one of the most powerful forces affecting business today. Among management consultants and sales trainers, storytelling is in vogue these days. In fact, I even offer a full workshop on how sales professionals can harness the power of compelling stories.

You want to win over a prospective customer? Tell a story.  You want to diffuse a conflict in your office?  Bring people together with a story.  Do you want your company to have a certain mystique that intrigues the public?  Cast your vision in story form.

Just like Disney, you can benefit by placing a powerful story at the heart of your mission and existence.

A story is one of the most valuable things a business, organization or individual person can possess. Stories are effective.  People can be moved by stories.  Great accomplishments can be achieved because of an inspiring story.

We now live in a commoditized world. No matter what you sell, you have competitors that offer essentially the same thing. In the eyes of the end user, products and services are merely commodities. By basing your company/products/services on a captivating story, you can stand out in a commoditized marketplace in which many decisions are based on not-so-glamorous things such as price and convenience.

You need a differentiating factor, an advantage, something to set you apart.  The story behind what you do and why you do it could be the difference between success and failure.

Think about the stories your company or organization has that might be of fascination to people on the outside. How can you capitalize on these stories?

Make an arsenal of stories you can pull out at any time you need them.  Talk to your colleagues as they may have great stories about your organization. People learn by stories. People can be compelled to action by stories. Any time you are selling something or trying to convince another person of something, your job will be easier if you reduce your message to a memorable story.

Disney has long been based on stories, but it has ratcheted up its commitment to storytelling in recent years by purchasing other companies’ stories, including the Star Wars franchise from LucasFilm, Ltd.

What did Disney pay to own the Star Wars stories? $4.06 billion dollars.

That just shows you how valuable stories can be. Start building up your stories today!

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, sales consultant and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

FREE eBOOK: Would You Like To Profit From the Networking Events You Attend?

Everyone knows you need to network in order to find new clients or land a new job, yet most people don’t do a very good job of it.  Why? Because they don’t network with a purpose. Don’t fall behind the competition!  “Goal-Based Networking,” a brand-new, free eBook, will help you turn networking into new business or professional opportunities.

What do you get?  23 quick-reading pages with networking and prospecting advice you can implement today. This eBook will make networking both enjoyable and profitable for you!

Download the “Goal-Based Networking” eBook Now >>