Did you say drinks and nibbles?
I’m there. With Rebecca Smith – even better. (I’ll introduce you to her soon.)
So it was my first time at a Moped event. The prawns were AMAZING, and proved a great way to make new friends (have you tried that prawn?). The networking buzz of a group of marketing professionals was a relaxing one.
Rebecca Smith – Director, New Zealand Story
Rebecca is an expert marketer. So much so that she has been entrusted to create a national brand for our country. New Zealand Story promotes and protects NZ’s reputation by sharing a strong, consistent story about the unique offerings NZ and NZ exporters have for international markets.
Here are 14 lessons from Rebecca.
1. Know your leader
Who are you working for? Do your homework and find out who they are and what they think of their brand. Get close to them early in the programme and ask their advice. If you get on well, they can often become informal mentors, people you can approach for help. Handy.
2. Quickly build trust and respect
If you’re trying to sell an idea, you’re in the battlefield already. What happens if we focus on building trust instead? It sends the message that you’re in it together, shown by the way you carry yourself and the questions you ask. The best thing is, when someone trusts you, they leave you alone to do your job. Bonus.
3. Listen. Really listen
This is how you make 1 & 2 happen. What are they saying? What am I hearing? As marketers, we can get stuck on our own ideas. But if we listen, we might find gold, and we might change direction because of it.
Take time to educate the people around you. Educate in terms they get. The leadership team needs to understand the strategy. Which leads onto the next point…
Then do it again. As marketers, we tend to talk and write – a lot (really?!). Simplify it for other people. Remember they don’t think like us.
6. Find your numbers
Show the statistics. Hunt for them when you’re putting together a brand strategy and marketing plan. This is all part of educating the people around you, along with articles and research.
7. Repeat yourself
Show them the strategic plan again, and again. Make sure there is no doubt.
8. Be the show pony
If you can stand up and present on the spot, and present well – you’ll be that much more successful. So, get comfortable with being a show pony, stand out.
9. Recruit fast & recruit well
Because you need good people around you. Because you can’t do it all.
10. Everything starts with values
Values are what drives a great brand. They become a bench mark for who we are. And that’s very different to a campaign or logo.
11. It’s a pilot!
Which means “we’re going to test and learn, and adjust as we go. We’ll work together”. This will give clients an excuse to say “yes”, when there’s every reason to say “no” to a fixed idea or ‘perfect’ solution.
12. Friends in high places
Find them. Find a guru in your area and ring them. Get them on board. Spend time with them. They’re good to have on your side. (I now count Rebecca as one of my friends in high places – thanks Bec!).
13. The art of stakeholder management
There’s a saying – “keep your friends close, your enemies closer”. Make a list of friends, neutrals and those who don’t like what you’re doing. The people in the last group, what can you say or do that might turn them into friends and neutrals? You’ll need people on your side. Don’t be scared of hard conversations.
14. It’s never ‘done’ or good enough
There is no end. The job is never really done. The restlessness of this is so important in driving us to do things better. You want to be known as someone that is exciting to work with. Do things better.
The ultimate takeaway?
Marketing is far more about relationships (and who you are) than your marketing ideas.
As Rebecca says, it’s how we conduct ourselves that presents the greatest marketing strategy of all.
ps – special thanks to Moped for a great event.