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Angels Broken. Foreclosure. Compassion. ReInvention. Resurrection.

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Bright Black Press Shot By Gary BirnieAngels Broken

Sometimes angels wings get broken. Foreclosure, bankruptcy, job loss, dinged health, divorce —  it hurts.  We don’t like it and we can’t control it, but we can learn from it.

Thankfully, broken wings can heal and angels can reinvent and resurrect.  If they want too.

Do you believe we’re all angels?

Me-Ether Immersion

I’m into me.  That’s fine sometimes, and normal, I suppose.  But, I don’t think “normal” is valuable.

Hour by hour, day by day, we all fly our race.  I flap Away-From and I fly frantic In-Chase-Of.  How often do you and I simply “ground” ourselves?  How often do we peacefully unflutter our feathers…pause, breathe, consider, appreciate…?

Mostly, I focus on me.  My goals.  My agenda.  My fears. My should’s and should not’s.  My if-only’s and what-if’s.

Me, Myself and I, telling myself, “it’s not about me, it’s about others.”  Really Ken?

I fly, immersed in me-ether.

Wake Up

Does it really matter what wakes you?

Matt’s FORECLOSURE CONFESSION woke me. More accurately, Matt’s FORECLOSURE story is a hardship chapter in his unfinished epic of confession and compassion, passion and reinvention, resurrection and shared triumph.  If you haven’t, please take a moment and read it now.

Similar stories are being lived out all across the country. Because hardship is common, slipping into “business as usual mode” is a danger to be guarded against.

We Immersion

Moving from Me-Ether Immersion to We Immersion is what Matt’s story moves me to pursue.

Hardship. Tragedy.  Triumph.

Everyone experiences hardship, tragedy and triumph, how it’s expressed varies.  How I respond should not. Matt’s story reminds me of this.

Compassion

“How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” ~ George Washington Carver

Compassion is a powerful force.  It soothes, it supports, it comforts.  Compassion is an X-Factor.  Compassion is appreciated and correct. Compassion is valuable.  Matt’s story reminds me of this.

Passion

Passion will get you into and out of trouble.  A Passion for service and listening and understanding and sharing and compassion is an X-Factor, and never leads to trouble.  Matt’s story reminds me of this.

Resolve, ReInvention and Resurrection.

Life.  It’s no cake walk.  We wrestle and dance with good and bad, ourselves and others.  How can we best help ourselves and others?

I resolve to pause, listen, ponder and consider.  What is really being said and felt and expressed?  How can I respond with Compassion and Passion? How can I glide from Me-Ether Immersion to We Immersion?

Compassion, passion and resolve, it’s not fool proof.  But for me, Matt’s story is a welcome wake up call.  It’s not all about Me and business, it’s about We and Us. If I can remember it and live it, broken wings will heal, reinvention is possible and resurrection is inevitable.

Thanks Matt for sharing your story.  God bless America and Planet Earth.

Cheers

Photo Credit

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Norman Frenk

    January 18, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Ken,
    you’re a great writer & leader. How long have you worn the “writer” badge? I love copying your work and calling it my own. I still can’t imagine you moving from Aspen to Houston – but glad you did. Too many people suffer from “me-immersion”. If we can only redirect them towards Norman. Dang, I just did it there too.

    • Ken Brand

      January 18, 2010 at 10:54 am

      Norman, thanks for the support and I think, the compliment. If you’re using my “wild style” on line and your real life persona in person, I must caution you, people will be bumfuzzeled and think you’re bi-polar. Ha, ha. Hey, you going to Convention? Austin super cool and if you are, you can pay me my royalties in beer. Cheers Norman.

  2. MIssy Caulk

    January 18, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Compassion, empathy, all connect us to one another. Over the years I have gone on appointments pre-judging ie…I don’t want to list this….too far away…yada, yada, yada.

    But, if I listen to them, really listen I end up doing it.

    • Ken Brand

      January 18, 2010 at 11:44 am

      Good point Missy, I do the same thing and you’re right – if I LISTEN to them, instead of myself, better things happen. Cheers.

  3. Lani Rosales

    January 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    For those that don’t know Ken, he really does practice what he preaches and Ken, you are the LAST person I would accuse of floating in a me-ether, you are one of the kindest, most selfless people I know in this world. Thank you for writing such a wonderful piece and for reminding people to keep their nose to the grind but to remember to look up at those around you.

    Karma or whatever you choose to call it is real.

    • Ken Brand

      January 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks Lani. I believe Karma IS real and the first thing that popped into my head when reading your comment was how sometimes I feel if Karma is real, why does life sometimes pimp-slap me, poke me in the eye and swift-kick me in the balls? Then I realize, intellectually, as long as the slapping, kicking and poking don’t kill me, I keep my head up and I help others, then my lessons are learned and my curiously bizarre and sometimes painful experiences help me grow and understand what it’s like for others. The same goes for appreciating all the beautiful things we can be grateful for.

      Cheers Lani, thanks for you kind words.

  4. Susie Blackmon

    January 19, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Ken, if you want to get involved in something else, you should check out all the #RTB discussions. I know you would add (in a big way) to the discussions.

    I’m passionate and compassionate, but feel free to spank me if and when I need a wake-up call. 😉

  5. Matt Stigliano

    January 19, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Ken – Wake up my friend, wake up. I don’t think you’re someone who needs some great wake up calls, but I’ll take the compliment and move on. Your article expresses in the grand-Brand style what I could only hint at with the need to explain the back story. We all have stories, we all have things that aren’t so pretty – call ’em skeletons if you wish, but they’re not the things we want to trumpet across the world wide web.

    You can ask Lani and Benn about my inner-debate on what to do with this post. I have another post that I once debated and didn’t post. I plan on using it this summer (a year after I wrote it). Opening yourself to the prying eyes of internet users everywhere is a weird feeling, but as I said, I promised myself an openness to my readers. I was paid back a million fold in stories from friends, strangers, and agents all over the map. Hearing those stories made me more hopefully than I may have been on my own, only to reinforce the idea that opening up is never a bad idea.

    Mr. Brand, I wish you the best at being you. I know you are one of those people that is consistently reinventing themselves in the slightest of ways – tweaking and perfected everyday. That attitude is one I look up to.

    • Ken Brand

      January 21, 2010 at 8:50 am

      Matt, I wish it was true, but, from time to time, I slip into myself, and like yourself, the stories I could tell, and the stories that others could tell. Loved your latest. I believe that sharing your story was cathartic, I think writing can be that. It is for me.

      In my mind, I picture you two fun flying in a plane, flying across a choppy sea. A sudden wicked storm kicks up, you’re low on fuel and overweight, you’re losing altitude and you think you’re going to crash into the deep sea. The situation has nothing to do with you the pilot or the plane, it’s the weather. Naturally you’re concerned and tight and almost frozen with fear. Then you realize, you can lighten your load and regain altitude if you throw all the things you thought were important, but really don’t need, out the door. You do. Your plane skims the white caps and suddenly rips skyward. You glide home. You’re safe again, you replace your jettisoned stuff later.

      No regrets, and now, when stories are told and challenges present, you’re not a tourist, you’re a veteran. People turn to and are attracted to veterans. You just upped your value.

      Cheers Matt – Rock ON.

      • Matt Stigliano

        January 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm

        Ken – No doubt it was cathartic. I think that’s part of why I wrote it – for myself. I didn’t write with that focus, but when I hit the “publish” button and went and checked the post to make sure it was fine, I read it back to myself and realized that in some ways, I was writing a letter to myself. Buck up camper – you’ll be ok.

        Love your visual and think it’s appropriate. I’ll load that one into the memory banks and call on it when I need it.

        Thanks Ken.

  6. Brandie Young

    January 20, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Oh, my God. Thanks for the slap in the face. Great reminder. Shame on me, that it takes earthquakes and more to get me out of me … I don’t want my footprint to be the work I did. You rock. And, I’m borrowing the quote. Most apt.

    GIANT hugs!!!

    • Ken Brand

      January 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

      Life is awesome, I slap you and you, being you, HUG me. Brandie, I’m thinking next time I see you, I’m gonna slug you, what will that get me? Ha, ha, thanks;-)

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Business Marketing

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

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video content

As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The promotional angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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