Identity is key to rock anything digitally

 

Sometimes I wonder why many businesses seem to use social media, but fail to make it convert into something tangible, something on the bottomline, something that sticks to their identity, image and branding. Come to think of it, most of the people they connect to out there seem to be more disturbed than excited about what you have to say.

I wonder about  this because I have been approached by a lot of baffled companies requesting me to look into their social strategies and find out why the intended results do not match actual sales. What I found out is astounding  – ALL these companies, which recognize the importance of planning in every other aspect of their business and implement them accordingly, don’t have anything remotely resembling a social marketing/branding action plan. They may have a strategy, but they don’t have a plan for what happens from week to week and what they need to work on the long term haul.

Woot ?

Digging deeper into why these companies can commit such a basic mistake, I found out that all of them just dived right into social media with hardly any thought about how these tools will work right for them on a daily basis. I think the mistake is that they got the strategy, but they forgot or simply didn’t know how to launch it – from a-z.

And the primary reason why this sad situation has to play itself out?  Accessibility. It’s so easy to create accounts on various social networks, and start posting content right away, AND it costs you practically nothing – that these companies are lulled into a state of casual approach. They stop seeing social media as something strategic, as an opportunity to surprise their surroundings and saw it as just another communication channel where they don’t have to put enough resources to take it seriously. What makes social media work really well for me can be a curse for someone using these tools improperly.

Social media is a bane for those who tend to think in literal numbers – that having a thousand likers and followers is an end in itself; that business will just naturally take care of itself once you have attained a significant increase in traffic to your site.

This idea was smokin’ ten years ago, or even five years ago. But today, what would you say if I declare that I can outperform your 2,000 likers and followers with a mere 200 or even 100 of my fully connected audience? An audience that are really interested in the value that I provide, and trust me completely enough to go for their wallets, once in a while, to buy my services?

The key to using social media properly is to rock your identity to the right audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, you know what? (download pitch coming up) I have a method for that. It’s called the “value loop for social media” – it’s described in my ebook “Rock Your Identity” – you can download your free copy here.

Here you go! here’s my rockin’ best identity development tip

Have you seen this before:

Picture found on pinterest
When you talk about identity, marketing and branding, one thing that’s really important is to know what you have to give away. I have always been inspired to do one of those so I did. A Henriette Weber version with the stuff I want to give away: it looks like this:

I think it’s a great exercise and really important in order to prioritize and develop your identity.

buzzword bingo won’t get you anywhere

I am a fan of “huge” words in  a business context. Words that are world-changing and can mean just that for your company if you implement them, so they fit just you.

If these words ends up being something you’re keeping yourself up on, you can really move mountains within your industry. We have seen it various times with different companies that has dared to be <insert favorite buzzword here> as a part of their identity, marketing and branding.

However, I get so tired of these huge words thrown at me as if it was something you could fix in 5 minutes and get on with your life. It makes them diluted, and it makes me cringe – because I’m left standing on some random streetcorner saying. “I’m sure that’s not what they meant when they started to talk about authentic businesses or  social media”.

So even though you probably get a fair amount of buzzword bingo in your everyday, I can surely say – it’s not the ones that has fast buzzwords coming out of their mouth that really cracks the code for bringing in money, it’s the one that works around it and makes up their own mind about it.

Yep – The one who’s creative. You need to take your buzzwords and create your own good sh*t around it… for me it has been one of the keys to happiness at work =)

 

 

Enhancing your identity and branding ? you need a manifesto

One of the things I have worked with as an entrepreneur over the years is manifestos. I think they are dead important, both to the people who sees them because they stand strong, but also for me to get my head around what it is that I actually think and feel about a given subject. I went back in the blog archives and I have done a lot of manifestos during the years i’ve been running this blog… (8 years… cough).

A manifesto is a great way of figuring out what you think is important around a given subject – or even when you should be finding out what kind of company you are. I haven’t done a Henriette Weber or a Toothless Tiger manifesto yet – but they are up in my head – I know what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. What I stand for and what I don’t stand for. And that’s the great thing about manifestos because it becomes natural to you in the process and then you look back at them and think “hey that’s pretty cool”. A manifesto needs to be a natural process so you end out with something that everybody in the manifesto process believes in and acts out and stands for. It can be a lot of work (especially in large teams – but I guarantee you it’s worth it). in fact it often becomes something more than a manifesto

But here are my published manifestos over the years:

Anyway there was the silent revolution manifesto that became a large part of my book “return on involvement” because the silent revolution defines the changes that is happening inside of people. This was written before the paradigm shift in media and I still feel the “yep” coming from inside of me when I read it…

There was the creativity undefined manifesto that summed up my creativity work with Dannie Jost for our lift07 workshop – it’s still stands and is still the core of most of my thoughts around creativity. The surroundings has changed a bit though.

Then there was the creativity 100 manifesto – 100 pieces of advice for getting more creative… which is still one of my most read blogposts today =) I really digg that manifesto, and can’t really believe I did that…

And then – there is the involvement manifesto. A sum up of danish book (in english) which had the succes criteria that one person would print and put up on their wall in their office.(you can still make it). That’s why it’s designed and great looking and not just text=)

When I read through this my mind is going “I better get going on that creativity book” – 2 manifestos on creativity ? yes it is something I care deeply about =)

The most annoying person on linkedin

There’s this man.. let’s call him mr. X – everytime I see him out and about on the social web, I start to studder, my face turns red and I get infurious. Especially when he’s communicating in some linkedin groups. Sometimes I even think so high about myself that I think “he’s not supposed to be using it like that” or “what is he trying to cover up”. He is, in my eyes, the most annoying person on linkedin. I would even name him “mr. most annoying person on linkedin” and give him a tiara and stuff. Because he annoys me so incredibly much. I’ve just stopped interacting with him – really. Just cut him out of my ecosystem. The thing is that I like people way better when they approach me and tell me what it is that they want to sell, instead of trying to wrap it into something more hypotetical subject-y thing – if they do it badly. I love the art of selling through creativity and selling through network and mind. But if you do it badly and if people (or I) can see through it all the time. Things like writing into every group “so what’s best facebook pages or linkedin company pages” and then in the comment area just keep highlighting himself over and over again. And he just clearly shows that he might be reading all these cool blogs and books, but he doesn’t have an opinion about any of these things. He just keep stating the obvious – very boring and not personal at all. Sometimes he want’s to discuss autenticity and building a brand because of who you are – and he’s not even likeable or present and he’s mean to people. What a joke. So he: – don’t have anything important to say – don’t really speak his mind about anything, but just re-saying what has been said by real  cool people and stating the facts – highlight himself everywhere Do you know him? He’s the guy I don’t want to be like. He’s the guy that if you’d ever put me in the same room, then I would leave. Because I can see right through him and I don’t see anything interesting. He just seems like a shell. I guess that’s my point. I don’t like shells without anything in. I love substance. As you can see this blogpost is not about him – it’s really about me, it’s about seeing what’s triggering my feelings and my bad temper out on the social web. To some people I might be the most annoying person out there? Scary. but I think it’s important to turn things around like that and say “what is it that triggers me to feel this way”. have a great weekend rockers=)

The story of Henriette Webers involvement manifesto

Yesterday I launched the involvement manifesto – again. I’ve launched it already once – but I don’t believe that my homemade design skills did it justice. Therefore I let Amelie from Krawatt.se play around with it and here’s what she came up with :

The involvement manifestoI absolutely adore it.

 

How to get your version of the involvement manifesto

You can go ahead and download the involvement manifesto over on Toothless Tiger press – my publishing house.

Anyway I decided to put it up here on the blog as well.

I want to touch upon how important it is to take large pieces of content and break it up and make it digestable.

The involvement manifesto is a digestible way of reading a part of danish book “return on involvement”, it’s a mini teaser for the english one as well. There are so many ways to break down large pieces of content – and it’s one of the things I love to do the most because it makes you feel so creative.

Have you done something huge?

And have you thought about breaking it down into small pieces of involvement content and spread it out like little snippets of you and your messages? It’s truely important to not only work around your business plans with HUGE books and all these things that makes your brand – because you need small snippets of freebies and information that travels fast. Like fragments of epic shit building the empire of me.

One of the things that I would actually love, was if just one person in the world thought that this was an utterly amazing manifesto, and put it up on the wall in the office and start using it. Believing so much in my thoughts about business unusual that the person would print it out and read through it occasionally. That’s my ambition for this manifesto. However I must say – I will print on canvas and put it up in the Toothless Tiger office. Because to me that poster is a stunner – the essence of the book.

3 1/2 ways to rock your identity and grow your business

Let’s talk a bit about the “real” business world here. In this “real” business world, a lot of people tell me that There’s no such thing as a digital part of your identity.

Au contraire to my business world where the digital part of your identity is your biggest asset and is the one that you can nurture without being omni-present at events all over the world. Digital rules my business world – how do you get digital to rule yours as well ?

How do you rock your identity ?

Let’s take it from scratch.

1. It’s all about the (digital) meetings between people.

A couple of days ago I was in a potential client meeting that started out with the prospect saying that he didn’t have any digital budget at all.

Later on in the conversation he said that what they focus on was the people in the stores – the face to face meetings between seller and buyer inside the store. The whole “space” the floor/store people operate in. He just didn’t think that digital could help in these meetings and form a trusted relationship. He didn’t believe in it at all, to the point where the brand wasn’t even present on their own facebook page – and didn’t reply to the comments. You need to focus on the meetings between people – digital as well as “real” business world.

2. So you’re meeting them digitally, then what?

Now it’s time to show them how much you are rockin in the real business world. What part of your identity are they meeting ? In many ways, this is where they should be mesmerized by the whole brand-building thing you’ve been doing for years on end. But if you’re just starting out, make sure that the snippets of your identity they can actually find out there, rocks. Aim to to show, and produce content around the parts of your identity that you take pride in – that are special for just you and extremely likeable for the people you’re trying to reach.

3. What people are you trying to reach – really ?

Toothless Tiger (my business where I teach companies to rock their identity) isn’t a companion for everybody because we want to work with companies that aspires to the term “the business of our business is more than business”. If the business of your business is simply “business” then we’re probably not what your looking for. But for the ones that strive to be more, we are often the perfect match. I think very well on planes and trains (and can’t wait for the long train ride Im taking from Helsingør to Berlin on monday to participate and write about the Next Conference . I believe in “reaching for the people that are the most like yourself”. In my case, the quirky ones. The cool ones. The ones that are grounded yet flying high. The ones that have a secret dream inside of saving the world, and becoming a billionaire rockstar while they’re doing it.

3 1/2: Rock your identity on the inside

Keep your target group close to the heart of yourself. I hope every day to earn my money while meanwhile honoring the respect of people just like me. I always mirror the things I do online with a “if I saw this from the outside, would I think it rocked”? If I don’t get that feeling, I wont post it. I need to have a good feeling about it, otherwise it will be sitting in the draft folder until I feel the urge to look at it again and give it another go.

What makes an entrepreneur rock ? clearing the unclear path.

Tara is a fantastic femme that I have run into over the last 7 years, both in Europe and in the US. She did a talk for TEDxConcordia a while back about being a startup entrepreneur – a new opportunity for her to conquer, after being one of the coolest and smartest authors and marketers that I have ever met. The talk is entitled “the unclear path” and it made me think hard about my own path as an entrepreneur and as a business owner.

One of the things I personally struggle a lot with, is that I don’t think I do enough as an entrepreneur. There’s not enough hours in the day to have me do everything I want to do. Also the financial insecurity kinda sucks (as fx. now where we have two rents because we haven’t sold our apartment in CPH yet (oh and if anyone is interested in the coolest new yorker apartment 12 km outside of CPH you can see it here and you can buy it from me =) It’s the space where I’ve build Toothless Tiger and written my book so it just oozes with curly  creativity =))

The thing two rents has taught is to not be lazy and to think smarter. So as I see it the unclear path is a freedom to me – and also the path that without a doubt has taught me the most. I feel so rich in experiences and everytime the clients from hell doesn’t pay on time and I want to throw it all away and it doesn’t work out, I think about what a 9-17 job would mean to me and my family and I feel like a caged tiger. And I quickly change my mind again and I’ve realized there’s no way Im going back.

So what makes an entrepreneur rock ? For me it’s both to take the unclear path and make it more and more clear as you go. Getting more and more people in with different expert areas and grow the vision in that way. (ps. I wrote a free ebook a while back called “why every company should be a rockband” – you can get it here)

I’ve teamed up with amazing people. I have some kickass advisors and a fantastic partner in Toothless Tiger who is giving me structure and helping me out driving my dream forward, it’s something I realized I needed a while back because I was driving myself down like the struggling artist I am, thinking “I don’t do enough, and I don’t manage the business well enough” Well I found someone who can manage the business, My business backbone as I call him, and I can focus on my art: the art of marketing, branding and identity.

And YES I see marketing and branding and identity as art. It’s the art of the glorified word “virality” and it’s something that needs constant planning and taking-care-off.

It’s my art and I am an artist who thinks bigger and crazier and more curly than most other people. It’s how I see that I save the world and make it a better place day by day, especially since I only want to work with people who wants to make a difference.

 

Should you “like” your own stuff on facebook?

Two days ago I got a lot of traffic on the “should you “like” your own stuff on facebook” sentence. I thought that it would be cool to elaborate a bit on it in a blogpost. So here goes:

My take on liking your own stuff on facebook is that it’s a big no no. It sends a desperation signal that I don’t want to align my identity with. I like to share stuff and I love to get shared, but Im not desperate.

Also if you’re the first who likes the shared stuff on facebook and not one of your peers, I would firmly believe that the likeliness of the content being liked by someone else is decreasing. It’s a personal thing and I can’t really tell what other people would do, only from my own perspective. To me liking your own stuff first on facebook, is like being the first to comment on a blogpost you wrote yourself.

Now that we’re at it, let’s talk about people who retweets when they are being retweeted. Sometimes if the retweet from a person adds something new to the discussion, I would retweet it to my network. I for sure wouldn’t do it as a religion and retweet everytime someone mentions me. I don’t see this a lot in the danish twitterstream, but it has occured from some of the profiles I follow.

so liking my own stuff on facebook, to me, is a no no.

Retweeting a retweet can happen, if it has added value to it and it brings something new to the table=)

Can there be a storyliving web without lotteries ?

definition of storyliving by Henriette Weber

I don’t really like lotteries. I think they are incredibly mainstream, and I don’t do mainstream very well. I do Storyliving very well indeed. But:

I constantly deal with lotteries in social media, because it looks like it has become the commodity on the internet; that it is the way to involve people on the social web: lotteries.

Giving people cake as Marie Antoinette would have put it.

I’m biased as I write this, because I know that a lot of companies out there are trying to grasp the social web and social media and win over more and more people to like them, involve them, engage them, follow them around like puppy dogs, digging what they do, making them into a cool company and brand.

But my idealistic, outsider-ish self says that it becomes too much of a commodity for the public to sell their personal facebook identity to win a lottery on a brand page I mean you are giving these companies permission to be right in your center of attention: the newsfeed! My point is not the lottery in itself. Heck sometimes I, myself even enter and win stuff (and I’m happy when I do!). My point is that;

1. It’s filling up my newsfeed on facebook. I mean I evangelize that with the social web you have a hands-on tool to save the world for the better, and you decide to earn your own fame instead, by doing lotteries? What happened to storyliving ? aka. When you, in addition to telling the story (storytelling), document it on the social web?

2. It’s filling up my rss reader – the place I turn to daily to get my ladies magazine kick and getting to know what smart people think about business.

2. Lotteries are so widely succesful that it is the ONLY thing that a lot of companies do on facebook to involve people. You can WIN! Wow. I want to be a winner! It reminds me of all those times where I have sat in agency meetings talking about a new concept and the finishing touch to that concept often becomes: “let’s  get some celebrities to endorse this”. People will identify themselves with the celebs and we sell, sell, sell. I really hate those concepts.

BUT: I am willing to cut you some slack people. I am willing to accept that you need to do this in order to get more people involved in what you’re doing, on one condition:

that you also start doing something else: Storyliving

 

Here’s some advice for what I would do if I was you (in addition to the lotteries):

Find 3 things in the soul of the company. Communicate them. Storylive them and get people to see that you’re not just a lottery company, you do cool stuff as well.

– Practice strategic creativity. Don’t just put up stuff on the internet that are going to get you facebook likes and followers and stuff, because it’s cool. Define how the creativity is going to bring in the dough. What is the strategic flow of your actions on the social web?

You may say I’m a dreamer I’m madly in love with companies that dare to tell the world what they dream about for the future. I get euforic when I see that they are working towards it in a targeted way. Have you told the people around you (aka. your peers) today what you dream of, why they should give you the money instead of the competition, Because you’re sassy, cool and you dream and act big, not just for the sake of the company you work for, but for the whole world.

I look forward to see how you’re storyliving out there.. =)