Monday, April 20, 2009

Susan Boyle - Lessons in Authenticity, Timing and Technology

“What we’re all striving for is authenticity, a spirit-to-spirit connection.”
--Oprah Winfrey

It's official: British singing phenom Susan Boyle's video clip is the most downloaded in a single week in the history of the Internet. She's made fans of Oprah, Jay Leno, Elaine Paige, Simon Cowell, Demi Moore and millions of people who have watched her sing "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables. With a three minute performance, Susan Boyle rocketed from the depths of obscurity to the heights of fame in a matter of days. What can Susan’s experience teach business owners?

Authenticity -- As a culture we've become so cynical and jaded. Susan seems like the real deal and it is so refreshing. It's a reminder that you don't have to try to make your company appear bigger, faster or better than it really is. You only need to discover what your unique talents are and give them voice.

Timing - I read online that Susan tried out for Britain's Got Talent many times but until this year she never progressed to the final round. Was her voice any different in prior years? Probably not. Perhaps in those years the gatekeepers couldn't see beyond her age or appearance to give her a chance.

Timing plays a huge role in success and persistence pays. If your brand’s story isn't being heard the way you'd like, consider Susan's example to inspire you to keep trying. You never know when the stars align and your story fits a perfect need of the moment. The only guarantee is if you don't try, it will never happen.

Technology - The people have crowned Susan Boyle a winner, not the media. From YouTube to, to email, blogging and Twitter, tens of millions of ordinary folks got on the computer and turned this woman into a global superstar almost overnight. It's a great example of the power of the online world. There's no reason why your brand cannot capture people's attention online too, if you're savvy and give them a reason to care. If you haven't made your company's online presence a key factor in your marketing strategy, let Susan Boyle be your wake-up call.

© Barbara Wayman, APR, BlueTree Media, all rights reserved

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Three Secrets of Marketing

In over 15 years of doing marketing communications work, I’ve picked up quite a few tips on how to best get the job done. From start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, my three marketing secrets make a significant difference.

1. Consistency Is Key

If I had only one piece of marketing advice to offer, this would be it: The secret to effective marketing is consistency, plain and simple. A press release here, an ad buy there, a brochure that looks one way and a website that looks another … these hit-or-miss efforts are doomed to failure and are just a waste of your money.

TIP: Don’t dabble at marketing.

If your budget is limited, invest in a good, solid marketing plan and then consistently execute just one part of it until you can afford to do more. Don’t let it fall down on your list of priorities. If you think marketing can be of value to your company, start doing it, even in a small way. And then don’t stop. You’ll see results.

2. Amplify What Makes You Different

As teenagers we desperately want to blend in with our peers, never imagining we’ll one day embrace the very things we worked so hard to hide. In business, marketing yourself and your brand is much easier if you have memorable qualities that stick in people’s minds.

Don’t be afraid to be distinctive. Barbra Streisand’s strong nose, Warren Buffett’s frugality, Cary Grant’s elegance – these qualities are entirely authentic but hard to duplicate.

TIP: Take a moment to think about your business persona or company. What do you have that others don’t? If you’re not sure, do a quick review of competitor websites or think about comments you’ve received from others. Now how can you amplify those qualities?

3. It’s All About Third-Party Credibility

Okay, now I am going to tell you some gossip.

Did your ears just perk up? Would you have had the same response if I had said, “Now I am going to tell you all about me.” Probably not. What someone else says about you will always carry more weight than what you say about yourself. When thinking about your company’s marketing, look for ways to build your reputation with others.

Reporters, editors, bloggers, customers, business and government leaders are all examples of influential audiences who could be spreading your message. It’s your job to make sure they know and understand what makes you special.

As an illustration, one of my clients, a luxury motor coach modification company, proactively invited the Mayor and City Administrator to come take a plant tour and learn about the company. Later when the firm was ready to expand into a new building and needed help with zoning permits and the like, those key relationships were already forged.

TIP: Take a look at the marketing you’re doing. Are you missing any important audiences? What one thing can you do to reach out to them?

Barbara Wayman, president of BlueTree Media, LLC, publishes The Stand Out Newsletter, a free ezine for people who want to know how to leverage the power of marketing and public relations. Get your free subscription today at

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

©2009 Barbara Wayman, BlueTree Media, LLC.