Renegade Client-Centric Marketing

Renegade Client-Centric Marketing

Last week we picked an unusual day to launch our new website — Inauguration Day. Why? As marketers we should know that big, historical events overshadow our measly little purposes. But anything’s possible, right?

Renegades by nature, we’re used to going against the grain. We’re pitching stories on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving because the other pitchers are at the grocery store. We’re building our client’s website on Friday night while they are being courted by others firm at Happy Hour. What I’m trying to say is that we don’t do things the way most marketing professionals and firms do. Here are three ways our new website depicts this:

Veracity Marketing January 2017

No Words: Our muse is art, not our own brains. 

Rather than leading with what we think is best, we let external stimuli, especially visual art, guide us. The typical way to art direct is through copy. The copy comes from strategy: the men in the rooms rolling up their sleeves pontificating. What if we look to art, namely breathtaking photography, to launch us into a true creative process that will lead us to the words, and maybe even the strategy, to sell the “thing”?

Parts of our website emulate this opposite approach where the artist is in the driver’s seat. We could spend hours weaving stories into the collection of free professional photography highlighted on Unsplash. Sometimes these photos spark new ideas, leading to new strategies and eventually new campaigns. We only get this inspired by looking at the true art displayed on Unsplash. The first glance of Clip Art or Stock Photos will send us packing up for an early lunch.

Nowhere else is this opposite approach better depicted than on our home page, where ideally there would be no words at all. The featured photo brought us to the idea of launching on Inauguration Day in the first place. We weren’t concerned with the number of “likes” our new website post would receive, rather a personal message of utmost importance. It’s rewarding to be this free.

The photo also brought us to the idea of highlighting a new image frequently on our homepage to align with a social construct, a fun seasonal theme, or even client news. How we will communicate the reasoning behind each new photo is anyone’s guess. Inspiration is the only purpose of going through this extra work.

 

The Empowerment Program: Making way for organizational success.

By removing ourselves from the day-to-day marketing process, we can help more organizations and the people working within them. Ideally, our new Empowerment Program will show anyone interested in the discipline how to execute a marketing strategy. This helps the receptionist learn social media, the junior worker gain the promotion, or the solo business entrepreneur launch their business on a budget.

But you have to start somewhere and this is where we come in. Our half-day workshop will let everyone lay it on the table, while we draw even more of it out. Of course we’ll do our research before the workshop to create a customized experience for your team. What we garner through our research and the workshop will arm us with the information we need to build a 12-month marketing plan for your organization. The best part is that we come back to teach you how to implement the plan on your own.

Not only will the plan be customized for your organization’s unique set of goals and competition considerations, it will work with the capabilities of your team. Hopefully the workshop will show us the strengths of each team member and we’ll build from there. For example, if your team is wary of technology, we’ll consider that. Possibly your audience isn’t even on their devices for business purposes.

 

The Coaching Program: Making way for individual success.

We won’t be presenting the plan and then saying “sayonara” unless you want us to. Our new Coaching Program goes into a deep dive on social media and PR basics for those who may have been elevated into new roles through the Empowerment Program. However, you do not have to go through the Empowerment Program to benefit from the Coaching Program. Its virtual component will extend us beyond the confines of our location to help everyone from students and entry level workers to seasoned professionals looking to branch out.

The Program consists of an 8-week school taught virtually by Veracity, limited to 20 attendees. Topics — such as PR and social media 101, Facebook Advertising, Blogging, and finally strategy development — will build upon each other. Videos will be released on Tuesdays and accessible forever.

But this isn’t just a heads-down learning program. We’re creating a customized experience by getting classmates together once-a-week for live group discussions where we’ll answer real questions and help solve real problems. We’re anticipating a community will form organically. Throughout the weeks, everyone will be able to share their wins and follow each other’s progress along the way. Ideally, attendees will feel comfortable offering their experiences with tough marketing problems to help us provide solutions to their classmate’s issues.

A private Facebook page where everyone can ask questions, share advice and build connections will strengthen this community. We will be monitoring the page daily and respond to your marketing concerns throughout the course. More than that, we’ll post daily doses of inspiration on the page.

How do these three examples make us different? We don’t spend much time examining our competition but I would gather that it’s simply that we are getting out of the way.

First we’re getting out of our own way. Without overthinking the process, we’re letting creativity emerge from the outside world, whether that be art or the politics of the day. We’re also getting out of your way. Helping you see things in a different light at first and then setting you up to operate your own marketing if that works best, rather than orchestrating it so that you can’t live without us.

More than anyone else, you know how to show off your organization in the best light. The ideas are in there somewhere; they just need to be drawn out. You are living and breathing this work and know what needs to be done. Let us show you the way.

 

Quiz: What Kind of Leader Are You?

Quiz: What Kind of Leader Are You?

Whether you’re a business owner handing out projects to employees, assigning tasks to your friends in the kitchen or *cough taking the high-chair of one of the world’s leading superpowers, it’s helpful to keep in mind what qualities you’re giving off to team members. Thoughtful, aware leadership can inspire a team to pull off seemingly impossible tasks. On the other hand, poorly-utilized leadership skills can incite resentment and put work at a standstill.

In Primal Leadership, Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee identify six leadership styles, arguing that the most effective leader, regardless of style, is self-aware. All six leadership styles possess innate strengths and weaknesses, but it’s up to the leaders themselves to know how to control their tendencies, given the situation.

Here are descriptions of Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee’s six leadership styles, with an example of each, followed by a quiz to determine where you fit the bill. Before taking the quiz at the end, who do you think you most align with?

  1. Visionary. This leader sets and focuses on long-term goals. Taking into account the strengths and shortcomings of each worker, the visionary leader unites their crew and motivates towards the fulfillment of a greater good. Communicative, charismatic and risk-taking, a visionary leader is typically most successful with less-experienced members of the team, or when big changes are needed to a given structure. Example: Nelson Mandela.

 

  1. Coaching. A natural delegate, the coaching leader gives power and responsibility to each of their players within a controlled environment. Coaching leaders build strong, one-on-one connections with their team, establishing personal rapport and trust in an effort to identify each member’s unique strengths and weaknesses. Keeping their traits in mind, coaching leaders set long-term developmental goals for each team member, usually manifested in challenging projects and assignments. This leader is more concerned with their employees’ future growth, rather than immediate results. Example: Phil Jackson.


  1. Affiliative. This leader is all about the team, reinforcing their commitment to the group with a bounty of positive feedback. Affiliative leaders show high levels of empathy and are great at building positive relationships. Not as goal-focused as other leaders, affiliates strive towards team harmony and group success, going out of their way to accommodate the needs of the team. While this style of leadership produces a high level of trust and satisfaction, it arguably places the value of task-completion on the lower end of the totem pole. Example: Warren Buffett.

  1. Democratic. This style of leadership functions through group input. The democratic leader listens faithfully to all team members for council before making a decision. While the final decision may ultimately be made by this leader, each team member is made to feel equal, as their opinions and insights are taken into account. Though democratic leadership values the group opinion and can produce the most well-informed action, it can slow down the decision-making process and pit people against one another to have their opinions heard. Example: John F. Kennedy.

  1. Pace-setting. Highly ambitious and goal-oriented, the pace-setter pushes their team to produce a large volume of top-quality work. A leader by example, pace-setting means that the leader themselves are constantly working and monitoring goals. This leader can be incredibly motivational, as team members will want to keep up with the pace-setter, however this high-pressure lifestyle does not work for everyone and can cause burn-out and can stifle creativity. Example: Mark Zuckerberg.

 

  1. Commanding/Coercive. This describes authoritarian leadership — the issuing of tasks and instructions with no regard for input from the team. Often thought of as being the “my way or the highway” approach, the commanding leader insists on immediate compliance. Highly effective in crisis mode, a commander gives clear directions with confidence and expects tasks to be completed exactly how they have been asked to, with no room for interpretation or creativity. Example: Bill Gates.

As promised, here’s a quiz to discover which of the six leadership styles you most align with. Let us know your results! Comment below or on our LinkedIn or Facebook page with your top leadership style. Remember, none of these styles are inherently better or worse than the other, one leader won’t necessarily align with just one of them. Ideally, good leaders are situational and can access each style accordingly.