Archive for the ‘Biz Buzz’ Category

Google+ To Influence Search?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Search for Alesya on Google

For the last few days I’ve been testing out Google+.  On the site there’s a lot of chatter about what Google+ is, how it works and how it compares to Facebook.

I believe Google+ is going to win the social war.  Here’s why.

Check out the search for “Alesya” above.  I’m logged into Google+ and the very first thing that comes up is my Google+ profile.  Now, check out the image below for “Alesya Bags”.  The very first that comes up are links that I’ve given a +1.

Search for Alesya Bags on Twitter

Let’s extrapolate on this.

We all know Google controls it’s own super secret search algorithm. Google decides which links will come up first, what images appear, how news is ranked etc. when you enter a search term.

Doesn’t it make sense that they’d give a little extra love to anything mentioned on their own social network?  That your profile on Google will eventually show up at the top, above everything else?  Or something with a ton of +1′s will get ranked highest?

As a personal brand, job seeker, marketer, recruiter, business owner, celebrity, football star, CEO, fashionista or any person on the earth, wouldn’t you want to use this power to your advantage?!

YES.  YES.  YES.

Google’s power and strength has always been in search.  And now they are flexing that muscle again.  If you had to bet on one horse…would you bet on Facebook to win social or Google to win search?  You’d bet Google every single time.

Hurry on over to Google+ and get involved.  Now.

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Gary Vee: I Finally Got It

Monday, June 20th, 2011

If you’re on Twitter, you know about Gary Vaynerchuk.  He’s famous for starting Wine TV (retired this year at SXSW on its 1000th episode) and writing two best-selling books – Crush It! and The Thank You Economy.  Also, he’s CRAZY on twitter and replies to an INSANE amount of people.

Turns out he thinks you should too.

This weekend I watched three of his keynotes and one long Q&A Session.  My favorite was from SXSW of this year.

After listening to him I wanted to learn more.  He’s that kind of speaker – he’s not just inspiring, he inspires you to act.  I downloaded the enhanced version of The Thank You Economy for my iPad.  (It includes audio and video!  Now THERE’S a perfect reason to use an iPad rather than a Kindle.)

I ripped through the whole thing yesterday.  It was that good.  Some of my favorite points:

  • Our grandparents know more about how to treat customers than we do today.  We need to learn how to interact with customers on a one-to-one basis.
  • The concept of “Shock & Awe” – What are you doing to make your customer talk about you?  (Takes the concept of Raving Fans to whole new level.)
  • What to say when someone asks you what the ROI is on social media.  This is a maddening questions marketers have to answer ALL.  THE.  TIME.

He confirmed a lot of what I already have been thinking – you have to “give a shit” aka really care about your customers.  The days of hiding behind the internet are over.  Be transparent!  (Yep, what’s I’m doing with this blog.  Nice.)

There was only point I disagreed with.  In one of his presentations he says if you what to start your own business you should work your day gig from 9-5 and then do your own thing from 5 PM – 2 AM.  I couldn’t do that and if my husband tried….let’s just say he might find the flat screen he watches the Jets on every Sunday mysteriously broken.  (To be fair, this point is from Crush It! which I haven’t read yet.  Guess what I’m doing next weekend?)

Now I get what all the hype is about.  Don’t let all the swearing and New Jersey charm fool you…Gary’s the real deal.  Start learning from him ASAP.  I’m glad to finally be one the right side of Gary Vaynerchuk history.

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Center for Women: Pathways to Power

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Friday I attended the Center for Women’s Pathways to Power event.  While many of the speakers were excellent, the best part was the speed networking.  Three times during the day we all sat at a tables of 8 and quickly introduced ourselves.  It’s always great to meet like-minded women.

The unofficial best part of the day was the fashion show.  It’s such a guilty pleasure of mine to see what women – especially the women in Charleston – wear to these kinds of events.  And yes, I’m especially looking at your bag.  One of my friends said “Next year, all these women should have Alesya Bags.”  From her lips to God’s ears.

Here are a few pictures from the events including flowers from Wild Flowers and shoes donated by Bob Ellis.

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

Center for Women - Pathways to Power - Alesya Bags

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You’re Scared

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Today I had a two-hour strategy session with Ash from the Middle Finger Project.  We had an amazing conversation.  She gave it to me straight.

Here’s how our conversation started:

Ash:  I have some ideas, but what do you want to talk to me about?

Me:  Well, I need some tactical help.  The blog, Twitter and Facebook are taking over my life.  I’m spending way too much time on them.

Ash:  Interesting.  Well, I’ve been reading your blog.  And I can tell you’re scared out of your mind.

Me: (This look)

Ash: There are some nice posts, you talk about the business, etc. But I want more. I want to hear how you’re feeling. The emotion behind what’s going on.  MORE YOU.

Me:  (This look)

Ash:  That’s what people want to read.  Right now your writing is on the surface.  Its good, but not great.  And I can tell you’re scared.  Scared of what people are going to think when people read what you are really thinking.  What you are really feeling.  But that’s what they want to know.  And that’s what will make it real.  MORE YOU.

Me:  Well, you’re right.  I am scared.  I’ve been burned before.  It’s hard to put all of me out there.  (Deep sigh.)  But I know you are right.

Ash:  That’s why the blog is taking so long.  You’re trying to come up with all this content when you already have the content in your head.  You just need to talk about it.

Me:  Ohhhhhhhhh.  GOT IT.  I got it.

……..

So here’s the deal.  I’m revamping the content on here.  Ashley was right.  I’m not letting you in and I need to.  Give me the weekend to get it all straight in my head and I’ll let you know the direction on Monday.

And be ready.  For more me.

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The Middle Finger Project

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Today I have a meeting with Ash from the Middle Finger Project.  We have a two-hour strategy session about one of my very subjects – marketing.  I’m pretty geeked about the whole thing.  Once we’re done, I’ll let you know how it went.

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Oprah Overload

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Like millions of people, I’m in love with Oprah Winfrey.

As a pre-teen I starting watching her show and wrote papers on her.  In high school I tuned in while I was supposed to be doing homework.  In college, she had a guest who said to write a list of all the things you want in a mate – so I did.  (PS – I still have the list and it totally worked.)

As I moved to California, back to Michigan and now to South Carolina, Oprah has been my constant companion.  I subscribe to O, The Oprah Magazine, listen to Oprah & Friends on XM, track down her experts to hear their advice and of course, The Oprah Winfrey Show is the #1 priority on my DVR.  I’ve even had shouting matching with people who dare say a negative word about her.

As Rosie O’Donnell so eloquently put it, Oprah has “played a supporting role in the movie of my life, but she just didn’t know it.”

I love Oprah for a different reason than most though:  She’s the most successful female entrepreneur in the world.  I dare you to Google “Top Ten Female Entrepreneurs” and find a list where’s she’s not included.  It’s impossible.

Her motto is “Live Your Best Life” and there’s no denying she is THE BEST is this category.  She came from a traumatic childhood, pulled herself up, worked and worked and worked until she was the best.  Its daily inspiration for me.

That’s why I have a knot in my stomach while I’m typing this:  I have Oprah overload.

It came to me last week while watching OWN.   I starting watching “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes“.  In this episode the producers explain how difficult it was to get the interview with Katherine Jackson.  In particular, Michael Jackson’s children.  There were a myriad of obstacles to overcome – managers, assistants, other family members, hard feelings…and that was before they even got to the Jackson home.

Also during the episode Oprah talks about how she worked out late one night when she thought no one else would be in the gym.  During her workout she realized she had to use the bathroom.  (You know, um, for a #2.)  While she was in there the janitor came in to clean the stalls.  Rather than come out and let the other woman know it was Oprah in the stall taking a you-know-what Oprah just stayed put until the janitor left

And somewhere right around there I had a funny feeling myself.  It felt like – I almost can’t bring myself to say it – It felt like I wanted to change the channel.  (GASP!)

I didn’t want to know how hard it was to get an interview!  Isn’t this Oprah?  Can’t she just call anyone and they’ll come on the show?  I didn’t what to know there were hard feelings between her and the Jacksons!  Doesn’t every celebrity love and adore her?  And I certainly didn’t want to know about a specific bowel movement!   She’s OPRAH – she can’t have embarrassment moments!

Of course, I know it can’t all be puppy dogs, rainbows and favorite things.  But its fun to think that it is.  I liked the buffer.  And as it turns out, I needed the buffer.

How are the rest of you feeling?  Do you have your Oprah fill?  Or can you watch more?

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Super Bowl Commercials: The Controversy

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Today I’d normally pick the winning and losing ads of the Super Bowl.  But this time it was different.  There were several ads that were actually controversial.  Over-the-top.  Political. Offensive.

Let’s take a look.

Chevy Cruze – “Facebook Status”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlGZ1UYHy4I&w=640&h=390]

For a moment, this is cute. Then you starting thinking, “wait a minute, Facebook already rules my life, now my car is talking about it too? And its distracting me from driving?” The spot quickly goes from feel-good to feel-bad.

Groupon – “Tibet”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXGYK1eP_wo&w=640&h=390]

Groupon could do no wrong. People loved them. Wall Street was salivating. But now they went and tried to make fun of Tibet. This might be the first ad in Super Bowl history that actually leaves a negative brand input.

Mini USA – “Cram it in the Boot”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDnVE58Z9VA&w=640&h=390]

Our friends on the other side of the ocean call the trunk of your car “the boot”. Here in American we certainly don’t. Let’s just tell it how it is. This ad was a joke about anal sex. Yikes.

CareerBuilder – “Parking Lot”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRDx18GYITw&w=640&h=390]

I’m over the chimps. But I’ve heard animal activists are too. Look for news to come out on this today.

Go Daddy – “New Girl”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htFlkfjOkNA&w=640&h=390]

Go Daddy finally made a joke I appreciated! But others were not amused and waiting for next hot girl.

Chrysler – “Imported from Detroit”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKL254Y_jtc&w=640&h=390]

I’m Imported From Detroit. When this ad hit, my Twitter feed and Facebook page litterelly BLEW UP. There wasn’t anything else on the page except comments about how awesome this spot was. I have to admit, it gave me chills.

Others weren’t as impressed. They said Chrysler was advertising Detroit when the company should be talking about the cars. Those folks don’t get it.

This ad gracefully talked about what no one wants to – the American people believe better cars are built overseas. And then addressed it head on.

What did you think of the commercials last night? Favorites? The worst? Please let me know!

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Super Bowl Ad Preview

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Sunday is the Big Game….for advertisers!  While I love football as much as the next midwestern, the marketing geek in me can’t help be a little more excited about the advertisers.  In alphabetical order by company, here are my previews and predictions:

Audi

Ad: The “first ad” with a hashtag in it will feature a sweepstakes viewers will enter via Twitter.  (Its already promoted on Twitter now.)  Also, they are teasing “luxury prison“ ads.

Prediction: Audi’s customers aren’t on Twitter.  They’ll get big results, but all the wrong ones.  The lux prison ads aren’t funny, aren’t relevant and even Kenny G. can save what will be a colossal waste of $3 million.

Bridgestone Tires

Ad:  They’ve got two teasers running – one about a groundhog and one about the “reply all” function.

Prediction:  You haven’t really lived until  you’ve had a “reply all” incident!  It will rate very well and hit audiences just right.

CareerBuilder.com

Ad:  The chimps return for yet another big game appearance.

Prediction:  These primates have out stayed their welcome.  This will be the last year you see them.

Doritos

Ad:  Their “Crash the Superbowl” campaign is going strong in its third year.  Here’s the commercial that is leading the voting right now.

Prediction:  A cute pug that makes the mean man look stupid?  This ad will stay on top and run during the game.

General Motors

Ad:  Transformers, muscle cars and mascots…can you say “Nail on the Head”?

Prediction:  Love that Chevy makes fun of itself but still manages to get the message across.  This ad will be one more reason why Detroit is proud to call itself the Motor City again.

Go Daddy

Ad: They’ll introduce the new Go Daddy Girl.

Prediction:  The front-runners seem to be Pamela Anderson and Adrianne Curry.  Though I hope it is Katy Perry.

Groupon

Ad:  Very little is know about the ad since they are a last-minute addition after someone else backed out.

Prediction:  With so little time to prepare, I’m betting a graphic intensive ad featuring (what else?) a Groupon for Groupon.

Homeaway.com

Ad: A cheeky skit with a James Bond theme.

Prediction:  Too complicated for a new company.  If you can get everyone in the room to shut up, you might actually figure out what the commercial is about.

Mars

Ad: New Snickers spot featuring Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr in the 2nd quarter.

Prediction:  While you’d think Roseanne would be the one getting more attention, Lewis will actually steal the show.  He’s funnier.

Motorola

Ad:  The teaser shows them obviously going after the iPhone, Apple and their “1984″ commercial.

Prediction:  SIGH.  Don’t try to out-cool the coolest kid in school.  And for the LOVE, 1984 is epic.  No one is ever going to beat it.  Not even Apple!  And certainly not Motorola.

PETA

Ad:  While one of their ads was “too racy” for the primetime, I hear a toned down version will run.

Prediction:  Women in bikinis will cause straight men to pause in between bites of their buffalo wings, but none will actually put the meat down.

RIO

Ad: Play Angry Birds?  (Yeah, like every spare second you have?) Then you’ll recognize these birds in their new starring movie role.  The ad will give gamers a secret code to advance in the game.

Prediction:  The birds will be really angry when their movie flops.  This is the beginning of really bad marketing decisions for the company.

Skechers

Ad: Kim Kardashian will bare all some for their shape-ups shoes.

Prediction:  Women want to be her, men want to be with her – Ms. Kardashian will get the job done.

Staples

Ad:  Flying computers.  Walking iPads.  Um, yeah.

Prediction:  Not cool + Not Funny + Not Edgy = Not Memorable.  The agency that created this terrible spot will get fired.

Teleflora

Ad:  Faith Hill will debut her new flower collection.

Prediction:  Great timing.  Perfect audience.  Not flashy, but it will produce the desired results.

Volkswagen

Ad:  They’ve already released not one, but two spots.

Prediction:  I could watch the Darth Vader spot again and again and again.  It will be one of the top rated of the night.

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Why Being an Entrepreneur is Like Going to 2nd Base 1st

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

“We’re the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It is how we make our living.”

- President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 2011

If our President, the Leader of the Free World, is encouraging entrepreneurs, why aren’t there more of us?  Why aren’t college students asking how to get funding rather than how to write a resume?  Why aren’t children saying they want to be an entrepreneur when they grow up?

I’ll tell you why: Ambiguity.  Uncertainty.  Fear.

For most things in life there are directions.  Steps to follow.  Hoops to jump through.

Think about it – you go to school for the first twenty or so years of your life.  There are tests, class schedules, credits and graduations that tell you exactly what to do, when to do it and when you’ve crossed the finish line.  Grades to even tell you how really smart you are.

When you are dating cultural norms tell you how to do it.  Get the number.  Make the first date.  Hopefully make the third date.  Buy dinner.  Buy chocolate.  Buy flowers.  Don’t forget Valentine’s Day.

Even with mating there are steps to take.  First base.  Second base.  Third base.  And God forbid some poor schmo tries to go to second base before they go to first base.  Well, that would just be anarchy!

Starting a business is exactly the opposite of this.  There are no directions.  No 27 step plan to success.  No one to grade you on how well you negotiated that deal.

Its scary when you don’t know what to do.  Its even scarier when you’re right in the middle of everything and don’t know how well you are doing.  But the reward is totally worth the risk.  And its certainly worth feeling uncomfortable.

So how do we get more people to understand the sheer joy of launching your own venture?  For me, it took seeing it first hand.  What about you?

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Entrepreneurial Fate

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDRElDDh7k0&w=480&h=390]

When I first moved to Charleston and was getting this business underway I had a new headshot taken.  Before the picture my make-up was done by artist Leslie Moore.  After listening to my story, she said “Oh, you have to meet Leslie Haywood of Grill Charms.  She’s been on Shark Tank and everything!”

Grill Charms

After researching Grill Charms I was really impressed.  It was clearly a thriving business.  Not only had Leslie successfully appeared on Shark Tank, she’d also been on The Big Idea on CNBC.  And besides being beautiful and charming (no pun intended) she was in even a breast cancer survivor.

Last week I went to a Ladies Who Lunch at Cork in Park Circle.  It was a Tweet-Up for Charleston area entrepreneurs.  I sat down and guess who was directly across from me?  Leslie Haywood.

I was flabbergasted and thrilled all at once.  I told how I’d heard of her almost the moment I came to town and how impressed I was with her story.  She was humble, delightful and enchanting. Moreover, she was extremely interested in what I was doing and genuinely excited for me.  Wow.

Grill Charms

Grill Charms in Action

As lunch continued I asked her tons of questions about her business and how she got so much done.  She answered them all very honestly and was beyond helpful.  It was truly inspiring to see another woman from Charleston who was  so successful.  I’ll continue to look to Leslie for guidance while I launch my own company.

For you other fans of Shark Tank out there – Leslie is doing a follow-up on this year’s show.  She’s say we all “have to watch”.  I know I will!

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