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Creating an Impression – Very Impressive

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Good News!

The bad thing about a business card is that generally it goes in the pocket with the stack of 50 other cards you’ve been handed, but a great thing is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Pictured above is the business card of @jonray (on Twitter) that he handed me at the Austin Mashable party this past week (which was a blast, by the way). I must confess that I was blown away. Why was I blown away? Because I wanted to take the time to deconstruct it carefully so that I would be able to reconstruct it. I wanted to examine this “note” he passed me at the party in place of a card.What was even more impressive is that when he handed it to @khartline of Mashable, guess where it went? I won’t say where she tucked it, but if you think back to high school, it’s where you hope a pretty girl will keep your love note…

It Made Me Wonder…

So the point of this clever little conversation starter is that @jonray took the time to create an impression, and it made me wonder- do we look for opportunities to create an impression in everything we do, even as small as a business card? If it still looks like a business card, maybe not.


Do You Have to be Cutesy?

Should agents make cute folded notes for potential clients? Maybe not, but I imagine that with inspiration like this, one of you is already cooking up a way to “create an impression” right now.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Jay Thompson

    August 4, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I think it’s brilliant.

  2. Ken Brand

    August 4, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    It’s remarkable, thanks for sharing.

    Think about those indelible first impressions, the first mental image, the opening riff. Great writers open with it. Great films open with it. The Symphony Conductor lifts her baton. Listen to the opening riff of great Rock n Roll songs, you recognize the first two seconds instantly forever.

    Want to move people? Open BIG = First mental image/emotion/impact Close BIG = Last mental image/emotion/impact.

    For example, your image posts does that in red spades.

    Rock ON – kb

  3. Candy Lynn

    August 4, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I’s say Hugh -@gapingvoid may just have some competition!

  4. Holli Boyd

    August 4, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    reaction in one word – awesome

  5. Jamie Geiger

    August 4, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    It’s the little, unique things that people remember, and it doesn’t have to cost a thing- great idea!

  6. Jayson

    August 5, 2008 at 1:46 am

    Everyone always says to make an impression, or to be creative, but it’s 1000 times better to see a great example first hand.

  7. first time home buyers loan

    August 5, 2008 at 2:31 am

    its really mind blowing man !

  8. Jennifer in Louisville

    August 5, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Interesting spin on an old concept. Definitely made an impression. (Though I wonder how truly effective it will be long term. At the end of the day, you are left with a very large, and easily damaged record of his information. In 6 months, will you still have his contact info – or will the most you remember be “the cool dude, don’t recall his name, that gave me the note on paper”.

    I think inserting his “real” card INSIDE the note would have been even better. It would have still gotten his point across – and given you something more durable/convenient for actual use in the long run.

  9. Eric Blackwell

    August 5, 2008 at 6:13 am

    I think it was a great way to get the attention of the recipient. Like Jennifer, I think that there may be some real value in having the professional business card there as well. Shows them that you can do both. Make a great impression AND be professional.

    Eric

  10. Glenn fm Naples

    August 5, 2008 at 7:30 am

    A very good technique to be different. In addition, to being different – you can read the printing. No matter how a kewl an idea – someone has to be able read it.

    Benn – you should have added a disclaimer – this technique can only be used by those individuals whose printing is legible. 🙂

  11. Benn Rosales

    August 5, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Interesting that another card be used, and maybe he had one, but in this one instance, his approach was compelling, if you read his blog, he even had a plan before attending the conference and wrote about it. He had a goal, he set it, and he executed and he made connections- myself being one of them.

    I’m not easially impressed by people, but in this case, it was a total package. I agree that not everyone will be this deliberate and as polished, but that’s why I said this isn’t for everyone, but how about looking harder at the details.

  12. Jon Ray

    August 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks for the write-up! A lot of great advice here in the comments section. Just wanted to say to #8 & #9 that I agree and I already have had a graphic artist draw up the cards that will be inserted into the folded pieces, but at this particular conference, they were not printed yet.

    I also think that it is important to always follow up with people on a regular basis. It’s true that a person might lose or damage the paper contact I was giving out, but I make sure to follow up with all of my contacts multiple times a year, so that they will always remember who I am. The point is that by making a knock-out first impression, they will welcome any other correspondence that I send in the future.

    Thanks, again to everyone who commented. I’d encourage you to continue the discussion over at my blog, if you like. At The Papertank we are constantly creating unique marketing ideas for our clients and I would love to get into a discussion about other things that have stood out to you and made a lasting impression.

    -jonray

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Business Marketing

The Body Shop’s new policy is first come, first employed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) An issue that has been on a lot of peoples minds recently is fair hiring standards, be from sex, race, or age discrimination to former prisoners.

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The body shop hires prisoners

Anyone who has tried to get a job in the last decade can tell you that hiring is getting near dystopian. Everyone has heard jokes about needing 5 years of experience for an entry level job or the combined skillset of 3 positions to get one job. Things have gotten to the point where even some large companies are wondering if maybe hiring (and getting hired) shouldn’t be so complicated?

The Body Shop is making a radical change in the way they hire their retail employees this summer. They will be hiring on a first-come first-serve basis. Employees must meet three criteria to apply, but beyond that it’s open season – or “open hiring” as they are calling it.

1. Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
2. Can lift over 50lbs
3. Can stand for 8 hours

The company will not be performing drug tests or background checks for this “open hiring” round. The goal is to remove some of the barriers to entry for people seeking employment. This move will be hugely beneficial to the formerly incarcerated and people who have minor offenses on their record.

The Body Shop’s U.S. GM, Andrea Blieden, said, “When you give people access to something that they’re struggling to find, they’re very committed to working hard and keeping it.”

This isn’t the first time The Body Shop has tested out this hiring strategy. In December 2019, the company ran a pilot program at their distribution center. According to them, their employee turnover rate dropped from 43% to 16% and productivity improved.

This change could be equally beneficial to both employers and employees. According to PrisonPolicy.org, formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of 27%. To put that in perspective, that is higher than the overall national average during the Great Depression.

When established brands make big moves, people pay attention. If they continue to report success, The Body Shop’s hiring practices could be used as a case study for other businesses looking to shake up their hiring process. Perhaps in a few years, this type of hiring could become more common place among retailers.

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Business Marketing

Stay ahead by decluttering your Instagram accounts with this new feature

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Get a head start on your spring cleaning with Instagram’s newest feature. It may become your favorite way to views others accounts.

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instagram accounts

In a plot twist you weren’t expecting this week, Instagram is looking to make your life a little easier. Their newest app update includes a feature that groups accounts you follow into curated lists such as most and least interacted with or earliest followed to latest.

If you’ve ever looked at the number of people you follow on Instagram and wondered, “who the heck are these people?” then this update will make your heart sing. Instagram has been around for 10 years now, so it’s understandable that some of our follower lists have gotten a little out of control. Your friends and interests shift over time and it can be difficult to find time to actively curate your social media accounts.

Working with this new feature is simple. To access it just head on over to your Instagram profile and click “Following.” You should see a couple of categories above the list of accounts you follow. As an added bonus, you can also change the sort feature on your follower list. It can be set to show oldest accounts followed first or latest accounts firsts.

instagram accounts

For entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t have the luxury of a full social media team (or any team at all) small features like this can be a game changer. If this feature sparks you to finally clean up your Instagram, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide who to keep and who to unfollow.

Why did you originally follow this account?

Does this account still serve your business interests?

What was your main purpose behind following this account? As a business owner you might follow an account on Instagram for any number of strategic reasons. Perhaps this account is a fellow business owner in your area, but they’ve since closed their doors. Chances are you’ll find more than one of these cases in your least interacted with group.

Were you looking for business advice or inspiration? When you’re just starting out with your business, you might have followed a few accounts that aimed to give advice to new business owners. Well, if you’ve been doing this for a few years, you probably already know the basic advice these types of accounts are pushing. It’s time to move on.

Do you know this account IRL? Maybe your business has moved locations or changed niche in the last few years. You might have made some great connections with fellow business owners back in the day, but you may no longer run in the same circles. If you know the person who runs the account IRL and you still want to stay connected there are two options. You can either go follow them on your personal account or you can continue following, but mute the account so it doesn’t clog up your Instagram feed.

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Business Marketing

2020 marketing calendar – plan this year’s marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Have you ever wondered when is the best time for your ad campaign, well look no further. This marketing calendar has every event listed, even weird ones.

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When you work for a small business or non-profit, marketing is one of those essential tools that can make a difference in your monthly bottom line or fundraising take. And yet it’s often a challenge for busy owners and employees to find — and take advantage of — fresh promotion opportunities.

Add this to your toolkit… a 2020 Marketing Calendar from the team at Liramail, making note of big events and days that you can use online and IRL to engage customers and donors.

February marketing calendar

Some dates are obvious… major holidays, for instance, particularly the gift-giving ones. But you can find success around other events as well. The Central Texas Food Bank uses the Super Bowl as a driver for one of their most visible annual events, the “Souper Bowl of Caring.” On a smaller scale this year, restaurants and shops around the Austin area and all over the country used January 25, Australia Day, to raise funds for bushfire relief—drawing customers into their businesses, creating community ties and doing good all at once.

This marketing calendar compiles dates both big and small, providing plenty of opportunities for tie-ins and promotions. Running a clothing boutique? Play with Fashion Week. Looking for a good cause to support? World Wildlife Day and International Women’s Day are just a few weeks away. Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day… and that’s all just in the next six weeks.

The calendar is as useful for engaging your social media audience as it is promoting IRL events. You don’t have to own a pizza place to make a post with your team celebrating International Pizza Day and quizzing your followers on their favorite topping. You don’t have to be a veterinarian to turn Love Your Pet Day into a way to engage people by encouraging them to share photos of their pets.

And if you do have a direct tie? Absolutely use it. Each March, for instance, the small Austin well-building non-profit Water to Thrive observes World Water Day with a quick Facebook fundraiser. One of the Austin-area businesses that participated in Australia Day, Bee Cave coffeehouse/boutique Runaway Luna Lifestyle, did so because of family ties there, raising several thousand dollars with an in-store event and social media promotion of a GoFundMe fundraiser.

So page through the marketing calendar, making notes of days that you can take advantage of. And don’t forget, if you’re inspired to create an in-store event or other promotion, be ready for it. Get the initial date on the calendar, and then work backwards to create a long-range plan to support your event. Check your inventory, possibly looking for related items to feature. Book your advertising, draft your newsletter, schedule your social posts. Let your audience know that something special is coming up.

Have fun with it. Add your own dates. Whether you zero in on Talk Like a Pirate Day or Make a Difference Day, you can create new opportunities for your business or non-profit and for your customers as well.

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