Do you sometime feel a struggle inside when you’re working, not being able to bust free? Where, even though you have good intentions, you are not able to create? You feel like your creativity is harmed, and procrastination is something that you can’t avoid – ending up checking your Facebook feed and your Twitter stream impulsively all the time. Yesterday I met with an internet friend and she said something that made so much sense to me she said that sometimes she felt like she was just too spoiled. Too cozy. Things were too good to change them.
Sometimes it seems like we are harming our creativity more than we support it. There’re so many distractions out there, so it’s natural that it’s hard to create both for our hobbies but also in business.
Creativity comes from chaos
For me, my creativity comes from chaos. Even though I thrive in chaos – I need it so, because with chaos that I get inspired to fix things up and explain my approaches to business. I think it’s, in particular, wise for people and businesses alike to enjoy the chaos. Maybe even ask us how much we would be able to change the world if everything were perfect and in order? So if you want to harm your creativity make everything nice. Nothing to riot against
Comparing yourself to others
I am personally really great at comparing myself to others. It’s hard for me not doing it. Maybe all of the world feel the same way. Social media hasn’t helped this at all for me because there nothing seems normal. Most of it seems like we need to see on the dark side of the ‘moon’ and remember that things are not at all what they look like there.
It goes hand in hand with ‘comparing yourself to others’. Belittling is easy, and it’s an absolute creativity killer to the point of not being able to think curly. Love yourself! You’re powerful. And if you don’t think so, it makes it so much harder to get shit done.
Do you have a personal brand strategy? If not, get going, cause you need to think strategically about your personal brand – here’s some tips of mine to start off:
Base your brand on who you are now, and not only what you want to be.
You have to start somewhere. One thing that defines us in the business world is our titles, which to a lot of people means what you have achieved. If you don’t know who you are right now – ask around. List 20 people who’s degree of knowledge around you are different from one another and ask them how they see you and why. Then take action from there and create your brand day by day, word by word, shout by shout and message by message.
What can’t you shut up about?
When I started out there was one thing I knew for sure around my brand. I could keep talking and come with ideas around entrepreneurship and people starting to think action in as a part of their business – and how to use social media to amplify it a gazillion times.
Focus on the taglines
Even though logos are important, taglines are even more so, these days. You can keep mentioning them in a different context and create more content around them daily. You can even print them on t-shirts if that’s your thing.
Important IS urgent
Stephen Covey wrote in his book seven principles of highly successful people (one of my favorites) that you have to focus on the things that are ‘important-not-urgent’. When it comes to personal brand strategy, important IS urgent. You need to focus your brand on the larger pieces of content and concepts and what you want to be known for.
Don’t be that super proactive person (only) on social media
I see a lot of this these days. People are snapping, tweeting and IG’ing and updating social media all the time, but there’s no catches or hangers for people to find out more. One of the things that people mostly say about me is that they found me on social media, but what really caught them and made them sign up was my content on my website – how I wrote. How helpful I chose to be. What I initiated. You can dilute a brand by not thinking it from one end to the other.
What would happen to the disruptive business model, if we saw business models for cutting-edge companies such as Airbnb and Uber as old school?
What would happen if we instead of creating apps that are the “tinder for xx” or the “next facebook” we decided to start from a clean slate? Not being inspired by casestudies or what other people in the field we’re in, are doing? What if we didn’t focus on short- term marketing stuff but rather on longterm business models?
Is that even possible? Can we innovate business models without looking at what’s already out there?
There’s a lot of pointers going towards that redeveloping business models is a part of the ‘new’ black. I in particular enjoy the concept of ‘holacracy’ and ‘sociocracy’.
It’s needed. In particularly since the models that most companies they use today, are often the same as business models that was used 40 years ago (sometimes even more).
If you want some cold-hard case studies on alternative management structures you can find some in this article from culture zine.
What makes brands vulnerable?: Not have gone through the process of developing taglines. Their inability to pave out in cement what they stand for. A huge part of working with your brand is to get these things developed.
Your brand lives inside people’s head, and it might mean something else than you imagine.
Your taglines can help direct the brand, so you have some control of what you stand for, being inside of people’s heads and all. r. It’s a way for people to get to know you better, and it’s a way for your brand not to be indifferent or simply not stand out from the competitors because you’re too ‘vanilla.’
What are great taglines?
Great taglines are sentences that add a sudden kind of ‘oommpff’ to a brand. It’s what differentiates. Depending on what industry you’re in, your taglines could be world-revolutionary. They could also be an off-spin of ‘having the customer in focus’ (which a lot of companies uses as a tagline, but it’s a given in the contemporary business world). It depends on your industry and how you want to position yourself. I would love to have a business world where more people spoke in taglines. It’s short, sweet, and it makes a whole lot of difference in your personal business world.
One of the toughest things for me, when it comes to work, has been the mindload. Thinking all the time, never stopping. Not being present in the now because there’s always something new you can do. There’s always a new spin on the record – of an old or a new idea. Living in my inner world in my head.
Mindload is very different than workload. Workload is things you have to do. Mindload is things you have to do + whatever else you can think up to help you achieve the goals for your life. And you can get so caught up, it’s scary. I noticed how far out I had personally come when it came to ‘ 100% focus on my brain, no focus on my body’ when I started not being able to sleep at night. I had to think. I had so many ideas and things to do; it made me feel numb most of the time. I had so many worries. These days mindload is my friend. So is workload. I have made a pact with myself not to burn out again ever. I have a made a pact with myself to shine my brilliance and take it slow. Doing one thing 100 percent instead of doing a hundred things 1 percent. Oh and give my brain a rest from time to time.
A couple of weeks back I had a meeting with a potential client on Skype. Well, it wasn’t just a meeting, it was a Nordic PR proposal that we’ve used a lot of time to put together, me and a Swedish + a Norwegian agency. Henriette Weber Inc. was leading agency, and I and the awesome Elizabeth Rankich had used around 20 hours crafting this and we were totally ready to land this project. However, halfway through the meeting they started questioning our credentials and our media relationships in Scandinavia. They wanted us to come up with some “examples” of people we knew and who they could contact.
Instantly all the agency side participants felt like they were asked to give away their gold for free. And none of us agency side participants would. The conversation turned awkward, especially since this was a big project. Afterwards, we haven’t heard from them. So what are we going to do next time?
We’re probably going to have the same approach as always, refusing to give away our intellectual property for free. It’s hard though and it’s a fine line between helping people out a bit for nothing and having them leeching on our network. It’s a hard knock life out there, especially in the business world and you could end up working for free for weeks every month. Remember, your intellectual property is your intellectual property, and if you have a notion going on inside your head that what people want from you for free, isn’t cool, then it probably isn’t.
Have you ever thought about adding a hashtag strategy to your digital marketing plan?
A hashtag strategy is where you’re mapping down the hashtags you’re going to use for your content on social media. You have to ask yourself if you’re going to use hashtags for measurement or community building (or maybe a bit of both).
So how do you develop a hashtag strategy?
There are several different layers to it. The first is to figure out what hashtags are the most used on a global level based on which social media is being used. Here you can see the most used hashtags on Instagram and Twitter (in my opinion the two places where hashtags are used best for brand building and community building).
After you’ve printed these hashtags in your mind, it’s time to get closer, especially if your content is localised, and you’re not communicating in English on Instagram or Twitter. Try to have a look around on both Instagram and Twitter and see if there are any hashtags that are localised that people use? Localised can also be within a certain theme or subject. I have done a bunch of work for a record label lately (community building and digital strategic consulting). For a record label, some of the best hashtags aren’t #love #instagood or #tbt. Those hashtags known to be the biggest, but they should rather use hashtags such as #nowplaying and #listeningto that people use to find new music suggestions. So even though you know what hashtags are the biggest, they might not be relevant for you and your brand.
You can also develop your own hashtags. It’s a great way for people to hook up with each other if they are at the same event, or if they are interested in certain topics. Even if n you want to create movements and get people to post images or tweets about certain discussions or on certain days. Hashtags are a fun way to engage, and a great method to build digital communities and have people connect offline at events as well.
When you’re done researching hashtags, and have created your own – you can always keep track of the impact they have on a service such as hashtracking.
All in all hashtags are a community builders game out there, but it’s such a creative thrill to work with them.
I have been practicing a thing lately in Henriette Weber Inc: fear. Looking fear straight into its eyes. Corner it and telling myself; what are you afraid of? I have become great at identifying my fears and asking questions around it – where the most action-packed question I can ask myself is: how can I turn this into something I am not afraid of any more?
Let me give you an example. Last week I was in a meeting with a potential client that I want to work with. I am in a place where I don’t take new freelance work in, but this client would be close to a con-amore project, so I would totally make room for it in my calendar. Our values align, I think they’re awesome – but not that digitally-savvy, yet. Even though, I do a good job of communicating technically hard-to-understand issues to people who haven’t been introduced to them before. I have a metaphor for every issue that could be hard to understand to have people understand it better. However, I just didn’t feel like I was coming across properly. I did my best, but I left the meeting feeling kind of down because I know my message, and the reason they should hire me, hadn’t come across clearly. Now, normally I would have been hitting myself in the head for a day or two because I hadn’t done a great job. I probably wouldn’t be the one running their brand strategy and turning them into the most admirable company in their field. But this time I opened my notebook and wrote down ‘to-do: plan more basic content around my work for newbies’. I turned the fear of being misunderstood into an actionable to-do that I am already working around.
After my illness, and having looked the worst of fear in the eyes and lived with it every day (yes, the fear of dying far too soon). I’ve changed my looks on fear. I could go into the wildest of details, but believe me, having battled a life-threatening illness will make you change your views on pretty much anything. You have to hope for the best and celebrate the small things you can do today that you haven’t been able to do yesterday. For me, every full breath of air was a winning-streak. I have gotten a brand new perspective on how I run my business and how I make my money. And I have promised to treat my bad-ass self better and more lovingly. Getting myself caught in being misunderstood is not something I want to be afraid of anymore. It will be something I create new cool initiatives around to prevent.
If you turn your fear into actionable items then it will become manageable. If you turn your fear into something, where you have a ton of backup, then at some point it’s not fear anymore. That’s how you’re managing fear in your business.
The business world is in dire need for diversification. Every brand has a need to stand out these days. Enter stage: disruptive trends. Think about what Patagonia has done with their ‘buy less’ strategy. Standing out has become one of the primary reasons for selling your products. If you’re good at spotting disruptive trends, you can get ahead of the competition. But if you’re great at implementing these trends you can hit a home run with your branding. You can save a gazillion dollars in marketing because you’ve already claimed the mind space of your clients and potential clients within that niche.
This means that businesses are becoming more creative and making more state-of-the-art/ cutting-edge products – in order to gain market share.
If you can define disruptive trends and show the business world what it will look like in 3 years there a good chance that you can get ahead of the game.
Here’s a small list of social media do’s and don’ts that was mapped down on a piece of paper at Henriette Weber Inc. HQ. It’s the structure of a talk that I did around CSR and social media a while back.
– define and show the substance of your brand
– engage people in the things you care about and you do
– Make sure you practice what you preach – also in public
– transform great ideas into great content
-facilitate the people saying great things about you
– be stupid
– maintain – be proactive instead. otherwise you’re not generating leads OR love.