As a kid in grade school, I always excelled at those "what's the main idea" exercises in reading; I was always able to pick out the main points, and sometimes even more important, the overall feeling that the author was trying to convey. Not so different from what every business and organization must do to form a successful brand identity, messaging and marketing campaigns. To succeed, you have to dig deep and boil it all down to the essence of what makes you special, what you're really all about, Do you understand what SUCCESSENCE is? Can you define your own?
As a kid in grade school, I always excelled at those "what's the main idea" exercises in reading. Didn't matter if it was a touchy-feely fiction piece or a fact-filled non-fiction article from my Weekly Reader; I was always able to pick out the main points, and even more important in some cases, the overall feeling that the author was trying to convey.
Looking back now, I can see how the qualities underlying that skill have played out in a larger way in my life, shaping the person I have become and the profession I gravitated to so naturally. Knowing how to take information in its totality and boil it down to the essence of what makes something or someone unique and special, what they are really all about, has been the secret to my success - it's my very own story of what I like to call SUCCESSENCE.
The fact is, knowing what SUCCESSENCE is and how to define your own is crucial to not only be effective in marketing, but to get ahead in your own life.
Marketing, advertising and PR have often been regarded as shallow professions, focused only on material gain and interested only in surface appearance. In the Mad Men era there was probably some truth to that for many. But today most marketers, advertisers and PR practitioners understand that's a luxury and a flaw that can no longer be afforded, and that instead, great marketing and public relations is built on an honest, accurate, responsible and animated engagement with the public.
In order to stand out, people and brands both have to stand up to the challenge of diving deeper - and then staying true to what's found there.
In a world where the web has made communication instantaneous, marketing has become a conversation rather than a monologue and the consumer can have as big a voice as the brand. There's very little room for ambiguity and posturing. If you're generic and bland you'll blend in with the masses. Or worse, if you're phony consumers will catch on and call you out with a 140-character burn tweeted 'round the world in the time it takes you to choke out a weak "keepin' it real!"
You'd better know exactly what your brand, your corporate identity, is really all about - what it stands for, what it aspires to be. Then stay true to that and let it shine through by being transparent to consumers.
The truly amazing, exciting, even inspiring thing about marketing today is that all this instant, two-way communication means that brands can (and should) trade in stiff formality for friendliness, canned communications for true connections and one-way megaphone marketing for true engagement with real-life feedback.
In fact, more and more, consumers' brand perceptions are becoming synonymous with the people who lead the brand. (So much so, I had to laugh at a recent episode of Community where a Subway corporate rep actually changed his name to Subway and was charged with embodying the brand in human form!)
So to achieve true SUCCESS - in marketing and in life - you have to understand, harness and be true to your own ESSENCE. That is, all the things that make you, you. From origins and history to personality, style, values, philosophy and quirks.
All the things that make you unique and special are the things that - if adhered to, presented honestly and built upon - can make you significant. And that is the definition of SUCCESSENCE. Find yours.