Corey Michael BlakeClarity Expert

Founder Round Table Companies (RTC) a Storytelling Company and Thought Leadership Concierge Service.

Recent Answers

Online marketing is about community building, not sales. Good online marketing is about creating value in exchange for signups and then nurturing those relationships. that's how trust its built, which leads to more business.

As a creative producer who is hired to create unique marketing strategies and to grow tribes around a brand's thought leadership, I can share with you the ecosystem you might consider to deepen your relationships and enhance the trust required to grow your business. Here is an excerpt from one of my articles on Forbes:

Social media: In the relationship life cycle, social media is the flirting of the brand dating game. It should reflect the company’s essence and core values to catch the eyes of passersby. It should be honest enough to repel those not in alignment with the brand, while attracting those looking for the brand’s value.

Story-based content: When a lead clicks from social media, the brand needs to deliver story-based, emotional content that reflects the lead’s understanding of themselves. “Hey, that’s me!” Content like this takes investment to be created in alignment with the brand. Like enjoying a cup of coffee together, this encounter increases the leads curiosity while inviting them out on another date.

Resources: Resources attached to each story are the first surprise the lead feels from the brand. These free and loving resources deliver value based on the topic the brand is championing. Like an unexpected gift, this experience creates a magic moment when the lead sees a beautiful version of themselves reflected in the brand. They actually like themselves more when around the brand. In the dating cycle, this is also when the brand asks for the lead’s figurative phone number (their email).

Videos (or customer service): It’s time to offer the first in-person exposure of the brand to the lead. These are an opportunity to show the humanity of the brand and further enhance the lead’s impression. In the dating cycle, these are like having dinner. When done well, these deliver vulnerability, charm, passion and mystery to ensure that the lead leaves with an augmented expectation for what’s next. You’re looking to create a full-body experience for the lead here, not an intellectual one.

A Book or Stunning Product or Service. When a lead converts to a customer by picking up the company’s book, engaging in an in-depth service experience, or buying a signature product, they are getting in bed with the brand, and hoping for the night of their lives. Seriously. A book, when done well, is a six- to 10-hour commitment and must deliver an intimate experience for it to be effective in the ecosystem. Beautiful products or in-depth service offerings can also be substituted. Those of us who are iPhone users feel an intimate connection with our phone. An agency leading a full day listening session can elicit a similar response. Focus on the user experience. Deliver an intimate opportunity full of human truths. The goal here is to help a customer to fall madly in love with the brand.

Regular interaction: Once a customer has fallen in love, we enter the honeymoon phase. Here, the brand has a huge responsibility to nurture that relationship through regular interactions: workflows sent via email. Forget traditional advertising — email is most easily measured and controlled, and can lead customers to more resources where their profile can be enhanced so the brand can better get to know them as individuals. The brand must serve the customer with kindness, and most importantly, it must deliver on their individual needs. When it does so, the customer converts to a brand ambassador who shouts from the mountaintops about their new love affair. The brand should give them the tools to do so, while respecting the relationship and helping it move into a long-term commitment.

Monetization: Brand ambassadors are the ones who exchange money for products. Their love for the brand inspires them to wear the brand’s clothing, hang the brand on their walls, use the brand’s products and services, drink from branded mugs, or wear branded jewelry. Pride of association and value they have received from the brand is reciprocated through purchases.

Workshops and conferences: Create small romantic getaways that help the relationship mature through direct interaction between customer and brand. Apple does this through the Genius Bar. Thought leaders do this through workshops. Some companies do this through conferences. Not only do these deepen the relationship between the brand and the customer, they also create space for brand ambassadors to meet like minds and share their common love of the brand.

Loving your customer is simple and intuitive, yet it requires tremendous courage. When executed well, love can help any CMO look brilliant and retain their position. Yes, love is risky. Love scares most people. But love is also where life exists. As prolific screenwriter and author Ben Hecht once said, “Love is the magician that pulls man out of his own hat.”

Assuming you are qualified to create this kind of offering, I think you can safely determine that there is need for this service. I know many doctors who struggle with the business of their practice and could benefit from coaching.

That being said, if you believe this is an area you want to devote years of your life to, I would consider the infrastructure that will be required to support your success.

Over time, you're going to want to build out the following (or a version thereof):

Creating your brand identity
Building your website
Developing your funnel to generate leads
Developing your pricing model
Inbound marketing strategy and execution
Social media strategy and execution
Sales strategy
Long-form content creation for email capture
Short-form content creation for traffic generation
SEO for organic traffic
Advertising for paid traffic
Presentation planning and coaching
Possibly a book

I would recommend thinking about as much of this ahead of time as possible to give yourself the greatest chance for success.

I've worked with a number of family businesses, and a real key for you is to work with reputable executive coach who specializes in family business. These people can be exceptional guides throughout your transition and the investment is well worth it. Connect with me directly if you'd like any referrals.

Trishul is on the money here. At RTC, we are powered by love. And not some hippy-dippy approach to culture that is all pie in the sky. We seriously love our employees by taking great care of them, honoring their dreams, and ensuring that they LOVE their work every day. That starts with the CEO and how leadership lives by example. It is felt in how many clients we turn down to protect our staff from "jobs" that would be unfulfilling. Listen carefully to your staff. Mentor them into greater leadership roles. As you grow, offer them benefits and maybe profit sharing. An investment in culture now will pay off in spades later.

Some great responses here. I would also be direct in asking about their core values. What values rule their company? What values do they use to evaluate decisions.

I would also test them in a smaller capacity to ensure that they:
1. Are exceptional communicators
2. Adhere to deadlines
3. Exceed your expectations of quality.

You might do this by hiring them for a smaller project. We refer to this as "doing a little business so we can do more business."

One thing you will want to understand is their process. How many phone call interviews with you will they engage in before starting to actually design? How deep do they go? If they are going to talk to you once or twice and then start designing, that's a very different process from a team who is going to immerse themselves in your culture and conduct 10 hours of interviews before they start their work.

Ultimately, you want to feel a strong sense of alignment with them emotionally. A branding firm has to distill the essence of your organization and then package that visually. So they have to be able to dive in and get to the heart of your organization.

Trust is the cornerstone of a working relationship. It's important to deal with this issue head on or the problem is likely to become exacerbated over time. You might consider hiring an executive coach to support your communication. We work with coaches frequently to help us navigate challenging waters. I would dive into the issue fully and see if it can be resolved to your satisfaction. If so, you might have a great future relationship. If not, you might seriously consider moving on. As you're working through this, consider what his issues are bringing up for you. Where is the learning opportunity for you? Every challenge like this is an awesome growth opportunity. Good luck.

This is a hugely important question. Thanks for asking it. You have to first understand the goal of your book. Book sales are a terrible return on investment for 99.99% of authors. The real value is in growing your business and creating new opportunities for more substantial returns. You can often put the same amount of energy into selling a book (and gaining a few bucks) as you would into creating a new client (depending on your business that can be substantial revenue).

So know your goals. If your goal is to use your book as a lead generator for your business, then sure, you want to make it available for sale wherever people buy books (at least online), but you want to get that book into the hands of as many potential clients as possible. So plan on giving away lots of them for free. To do that, you're going to need a printing partner who knows how to get you fantastic bulk discount rates so you're spending no more than a few bucks a book.

What you also have to consider is that if your book is going to be your calling card, it has to be exceptional. Not good. Not alright. But exceptional. It has to capture the essence of you. Your voice has to resound through the writing. And it has to be a page turner. So hire the right expert or team to help to ensure you are showing off your brand in a way that excites the kind of people you want to attract.

Feel free to get in touch with me for more thoughts in this direction. This is the world I live in.

Big Love,

I love this question. If you have to work on the side while building your business, I recommend doing something you absolutely hate. That keeps you hungry to succeed on your own. You'll also typically save your energy for the evenings and weekends where you'll want it for your business. Don't expect to make much money at your "other job" but you can work it to pay the bills while you build your business. This approach also forces you to build incrementally, and it keeps you frugal. This is not necessarily ideal. Having a bunch of money set aside sounds nice and luxurious, but not having the resources puts you in a position where you have to figure it out to survive. I love that. I started my business eight years ago on $150 and today we do a million a year. Don't wait until you have the resources to start safely. Dive in however you can. And avoid shortcuts. Don't waste your time scheming to make bigger money on the side. Do something honest to live on and create a business that drives value.

Ask yourself what are you here to do with your life. If serving other people in this manner is something that brings you tremendous joy, then yes, you can certainly generate income from it. Our company employs both a professional business coach and a therapist and we use both regularly. Intelligent people surround themselves with great mentors and coaches. Some you do not pay for, and others you do. As with any business, to be successful you will need to devote your time and energy to living in that space. Study the field. Hire other coaches and learn from them. Take great classes. Get certified. Give yourself the best possible chance to succeed.

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