That old “I should totally build a brand around this idea” feeling

I think it’s sad that people are so in doubt about what kind of personal or corporate brand they can be. What kind of brand is aligned with them. A brand is something that should be closely aligned with your identity or personality.

I totally get where you’re coming from. When I read some of my first stuff on branding I thought it was sky-high and I couldn’t but a finger on anything I could actually use it for. But then slowly I switched into action gear and started to create stuff around me that I thought was aligned with my personality and personal brand. Suddently I didn’t only see a blank canvas (my blog) I saw a million creative ways I could make a living being myself and giving my practical and curly inspiration to the world.

Listen rockers! it starts out with one thing: Great ideas! If you’re thinking about your branding and you suddenly come up with something that you, yourself think is a great idea, then it’s something that’s worth considering. If you get the “I should totally build something around this idea” feeling.  There’s probably an aspect of that idea that is aligned with you and what personal or even corporate brand you can have.

Let’s add all these great ideas and actions!

Social media value chain: Learn the art of listening

 Years ago, I created my very own social media value chain mainly to guide me along my work around branding, identity and social networking initiatives. It was just a spur of the moment, curly creative, seminal, scraggly map which I shared in a post here.
social media value chain by henriette weber first edition

But you know what? Surprise, surprise…

Although I did not know then that this map would be very useful in guiding me through my consultations with existing clients and helped me clinch projects with potential clients, it was more like a trial and error journey. There are some highs and a few lows but, I learned a lot through my interactions with business owners and my tweaks in social campaigns.

I even published an ebook, “Rock Your Identity”  to spread the good news. Rock Your Identity is sort of a mini-guide on how you can elevate your identity in social media to rock star status. No worries, rockers, you can download a free copy here.

Here’s a quick model of my social media value chain, distilled through years of practice. This is what a social networking value chain look like:

social media value chain by henriette weber final edition

Today, I won’t dwell too much on everything that I discussed in the ebook, because I assumed that all those who have not yet read it will want to know what the hell I’m talking about. However a value chain of social network is something I deem extremely important in your social media process.

Well, I like to amplify more on that first step when you engage in social media – learning the art of listening. Yeah, it may sound simple when all you listen to are five-star reviews and glowing feedbacks. But how will you react to those big, fat zero reviews and negative feedbacks? It’s too sad that a lot of business has failed miserably in their social media campaigns because they are just not prepared to handle social criticisms.

Sure, they have risk management teams and PRs to handle these situations. But generally, these efforts are superficial at best. In the intolerant and opinionated culture of social media, they only aggravate the brand’s image.

In any case – you have to know how to use those reviews (positive or negative) to add up to the bottom line of your company.

social media value chain: capitalize on user innovation

But that’s just one side of the coin. The other side is just as important. Most companies, after investing much time and effort in engaging their most dedicated consumers, fail to capitalize on user innovation, when those consumers have improved the products to fit their needs. Really, it’s one thing to decorate those suggestion boxes with all the latest tools you can get your hands on but, if those suggestions go straight to the trash… Oh, what a waste.

The culprit? Most brands are just not ready to jump into concrete actions on what they are hearing on social platforms. It’s a needed individual flow, somewhat like dancing into the groove. How are you going to make those comments or those ratings a part of your brand?

Maybe they are too proud to acknowledge suggestions coming from the front thinking wrongly that their R&Ds, with all the glowing resumes and fat salaries, are more equipped to handle product improvements. Maybe they think that their risk management plans can gloss over their shortcomings and everything will be fine tomorrow.

Here’s the gauntlet – everything comes down to one essential question: how do you react to what you hear around your brand? And have you set up a system that gives you a hunch around what you’re supposed to hear?

Last week I was at a conference in Copenhagen (at Better Place and on a side note I urge you to choose a car with a purpose the next time you’re purchasing).  The ever-awesome Chief Happiness Officer: Alex Kjerulf told a story about Zappos and how they found out that the reason one of their clients hadn’t returned the goods she said she would was because her husband died. Later that day, not only did they pick up the goods themselves, there was also a gigantic flower bucket standing on her porch with condolences from the whole Zappos team.

Do you have an organization that would do that? Do you have people in your employ that simply implements this because of the brand’s DNA ?

Visiting RICE – the identity of a caring colourful happyness company

Identity rockers here’s something for you:

A couple of weeks back I visited RICE.

In my humble opinion one of the top 5 danish design companies with the coolest identity. I was so lucky that I got to see their colorful HeadQuarters in Odense.

I hi-jacked their founder and creative director Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau for an interview. I had a hidden agenda, and wanted to talk to her about the RICE identity,  and the red thread in everything they do.

Here is what came out of it (warning- turn the sound up – it didn’t come out that well):

What’s so special about the RICE identity: They have build it from their own uncompromisable core.

And I am crazy about that. Their tagline is “people care- we care”. And they mean it (as you will also see in the video above).  Their whole warehouse was filled with how Rice is making a difference for people, in the crazy world of design.

I know for a fact, through my work with my awesome cool clients , that  building from the core is what you need to do.  Especially if you want to build more and more digital branding around you using different platforms: social media, apps, community – you name it.

RICE stands out so strong because the company actually gives you something to believe in (instead of just doing awesome colourful products). It gives them a substance and a coolness that often are missed in the business world,  and that’s why I adore them so. Are you inspired to do more about your identity? I am. Also I have had the strangest urge to  put colours everywhere after my visit.
In addition to the video and me geeking around their identity

Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau has a wonderful book coming out soon entitled “Happy Home: Everyday Magic for a colourful home” – about colors and happyness, can’t wait to see it in my bookshelf! here’s a sneakpeak:

the identity of a colourful company, now in book format

For more of the colourful universe of Charlotte Gueniau you have to check out her Pinterest and the RICE blog.

Can’t help but thinking of the Rolling Stones song ” she’s a rainbow”.

Charlotte for sure is putting colours everywhere, and if anybody would ever ask me if I had met a rainbow, I would say: Sure! she runs a colourful company called RICE in Odense Denmark and she’s taking over the world.

 

 

Return on Involvement made it to the mashable.com 2013 buzzword list

return on involvement quote 1

 

 

 

 

 

Go Return on involvement! I’m so happy writing this! I hope you feel energized and ready to get going for 2013 – I sure do.

During my christmas + new year break I suddenly saw that the traffic to henrietteweber.com started to skyrocket – something that always gets an business avantgardist happy. It was because the term “return on involvement” had made it to Mashable’s buzzword list of 2013! – wowza! I have been writing and preaching return on involvement since 2008, so even though I can’t say I have directly influenced them to put “return on involvement” on their buzzword list. However I feel like it’s somewhat of an approval of my work and my danish book (entitled return on involvement). At least I pretend that it’s directly influenced by my work, and it inspires me like mad to keep going. The first thing that sprung to mind was that I have to finish the 2nd edition (and first english edition) of Return on Involvement.

So what is all this Return on Involvement fuzz about?

Return on Involvement, in it’s original danish form is a book that I decided to self-publish about social media, old structures, being epic, branding, rockbandism, “sorry I don’t do mainstream” – ness.
Written by yours truely in 2009 and now on it’s way to be published in english for it’s second version. I can safely say I am channeling my inner Naomi Klein, Eric Sclosser, Kalle Lasn and Banksy in the english version of the book.

It both has a positive business outlook for the future, but it also pinpoints some huge issues that the business world as we know today has – and it gives suggestions on how to deal with this as a CEO or a business owner.

Can’t wait to show it to you!

ps. you can read more about my process in “the Zen of Return on Involvement”

Social media do’s and dont’s for CSR professionals

I did a talk on tuesday for CSR professionals in Copenhagen through Tania Ellis and the social business club. I entitled it “Social media do’s and dont’s for CSR professionals” I recorded it and here it is:

Im honored that Tania and I are going to be doing a social business/social media masterclass on the 25th of october where it would be so good to see all of you

 

Should you use CAPS LOCK in your online communication?

One of my absolute horrors in business, is when people use capital words to emphasize how strongly they feel about something . How wild it makes them feel. How much they want you to do something for them.

I get a nervous fit everytime I see it.  To me it’s like two people standard across from each other, having a conversation and then a really annoying person comes over and starts to SHOUT at them. Something not in context. Something really important to the person, but that the two other people don’t really care about. You wouldn’t do that at an event, but apperently some people feels like it’s ok to shout at other people on the internet. Please don’t be that person.

It isn’t ok to shout at people – especially if you don’t know them that well.

Because I feel so strong about this, I decided to do the “league against the use of capital words in communication”. Everybody who’s in say “Aye”!

ps. the answer to the question is a HUGE no! use your creative communication skills instead of pressing Caps Lock if there’s something you feel strongly about.

pps. I am thinking about doing a “only speak in caps lock” day as a part of this process – what do you think? good idea ?

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 =)

Free rock your identity e-book

I love my work – but somethings more than others. Today I feel so lucky because I get to launch my brand new e-book entitled “rock your identity”. Here. Together with the best rockers in the world.  Seriously I love launching stuff and just see how things build up.

rock your identity ebook cover

Rock your identity with the social media value chain!

It’s core ingredient is a social media value chain I posted on this blog a while back , and now I’ve been working around it with my clients in Toothless Tiger. So of course the next natural step was to write a free e-book around it and give it to you. So this is for you rockers! This is how you can rock your identity on social media, Henriette Weber style.

The Social Media Value Chain is a model that helps you define your own process around social media, content marketing and branding. The different activities in the social media value chain are done as implementable as possible. But it is in the combination of the activities that the real magic exist. I know you’re probably not going to be as excited as I am, for launching a free ebook. But I really think you should give it a shot. I promise you, it will be worth your time.

The e-book is out in Danish here and in English here.

oh, btw – the danish pressrelease is here

1 2 3