Making a List & Checking It Twice

So you’re getting ready to launch a new brand.

You’ve got your new name, logo, signage, website, and social channels all locked up. Or do you?

It’s important to snag ALL the domains and social channels related to your brand that you possibly can. Even the ones you think you don’t need.

Otherwise you run the risk of what happened to Carly Fiorina, former president of Hewlett-Packard, who just announced her bid for the 2016 presidential race.

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Doh.

By failing to secure http://carlyfiorina.org/, someone else snagged it and is using it against her.

The devil is in the details, so make sure your resources aren’t being used to fight battles you can control.

Are We Providing Hurdles or Open Doors?

(Throwback Thursday :: This post originally published 4/08)

How easy is it for your “customers” to go deeper in their relationship with your organization? Are opportunities to get even more involved and committed intentionally accessible? Not just the get-’em-in-the-door type of intentional, but what about for those already on board?

I just spent [versus invested] a pretty painful amount of time trying to upgrade my Comcast subscription. No dice through my online account [which should have giant “upgrade today” buttons, but alas, no], so I bit the bullet and called the 800 number. Got halfway through the endless prompts aaaand had my call dropped. Tried again, waded through more prompts, sat on hold & finally connected to a service representative. She was friendly and got me set up, at which point the Internet in my bundled service immediately goes down. More teleprompts & disconnected calls.. lather, rinse, repeat. I was so sorry I tried to upgrade.

Contrast this experience to one with a Sirius telemarketer who called earlier today— I had a 3 month subscription that came with my car and over those few months I came to the conclusion I couldn’t live without an All Blues All the Time station ever again. I’m not a big fan of telemarketers in general, but they already had my attention, called when my free subscription was nearly up and made it easy for me to take it the next level. The whole thing took about 5 minutes. No interruption in what I already had. No pain.

“So, Dawn,” you say, “Enough with the whining. How does this have anything to do with me?”

The best customers are the ones you already have. And they help find new people for you when they become raving fans, which typically happens when the organization invests in them. This can come in flavors like an easy to navigate website, customer service that goes a little bit further than expected, making exceptions to the “rules” when it makes sense… you get the picture.

And yes, this absolutely applies to churches. Every time someone steps forward to volunteer, get involved with a small group, sign their child up for MOPS, participate in a class, etc., let’s ask ourselves, “Did we make that easy or hard for them?” Or better yet, let’s ask them.

It’s the Little Things

[Throwback Thursday :: This post originally appeared 07/06]

Okay, we’ve all heard it before. It pays to be nice. And apparently when it’s intentional with a pay-it-forward mindset, it can really make a difference.

I just read an article in the Mining Gazette [yes, you got the name right] about a town in Michigan that decided the best way to increase tourism was with positive word of mouth buzz.

And what they did was just simple stuff. Having extra maps of the area in their cars, helping stranded motorists, offering suggestions of where to get the best pasty. [I have no idea what that is, but imagine it’s important to know where the good ones are] I’d imagine folks were so amazed the locals would go out of their way to help an “outsider,” they told all their friends.

This got me thinking. How often are we intentional about this in ministry?

In the article, it wasn’t just the town council/Chamber of Commerce/mayor who was responsible for this. Everyone pitches in and it doesn’t take a huge marketing budget to pull off. I’ve read statsics somewhere [don’t look for a link for this] that studies show it takes 30 days to form a habit. So, this isn’t a marketing initiative, but a way of life for these folks.

Makes ya wonder if a little area in the upper peninsula of Michigan can do it, what would the possibilities be for ministries?

Pro Church Podcast Interview with Brady Shearer

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I had so much fun doing this interview with Brady. (You can also listen on iTunes here) He’s fun, personable, and has such a heart for helping others. If you haven’t heard about Pro Church Tools yet, it’s chock full of great resources to help churches communicate better. They’re doing a fantastic job. Highly recommend ’em.

PS: This was my first time doing a podcast, so if you have any suggestions of how it could be better I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

PPS: What OTHER questions do you have about branding that we couldn’t get to in the podcast but you’d love me to cover in the future?

Collyde One Day Q&A with Tim Stevens

I had so much fun at this event. Last year, I had the privilege of speaking at Collyde Summit with some fantastic folks & this year they experimented with a more intimate environment that was just one day. Class sizes were smaller and sessions were repeated so everyone had a chance to experience them all.

The clip above is a Q&A I did with Tim Stevens and we had some great conversations about:

  • How churches can connect with more volunteers
  • Tips to communicate change
  • Ideas for attracting younger people to the church without seniors feeling irrelevant
  • What to do when a team member needs to be let go

Enjoy!

Ps: Collyde Summit 2015 is happening again on the east coast this September 18-19th. Speakers include Pete Wilson, Jenni Catron, Todd Wagner & others. More info & tickets can be found here

How Can Something That Seems So Right Be So Terribly Wrong?

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So yesterday we drove out to an apple orchard with the quest of checking something off my Things To Do in Autumn list. Which inspired me to make an apple pie. Which got me excited about making pies in general. So I decided to go all in overboard and declared Sunday, “pie day.”

This included an apple pie, a salted caramel apple pie and a chicken pot pie–all from scratch, because that’s what sane people do on one of the last nice days in IL before the frozen tundra settles upon us. Why two apple pies? A strategic person might freeze one for later, but I instead promised one to our neighbor. Because I need the applause of others to validate ridiculous decisions on how my time is spent.

Nine hours later, (yes 9) I’m exhausted and have gotten sloppy. Which includes a poor judgement call to taste caramel that was boiling moments before, resulting in third degree burns on my lips and thumb. (Use a spoon? That’s ridiculous.)

Life lesson learned: Too much is never a good thing, even with pie.

Collyde Summit ’14 :: Highlights

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I have to say, as a first-time attendee/speaker at Collyde Summit, I was so impressed.

There was such a great group of speakers with huge hearts to help those that are helping others & the team who made it all happen were nothing short of spectacular. I can’t wait to see what they have planned for next year.

And I’d like to thank everyone who attended (especially those willing to sit on the floor) as well as the amazing Rich Birch for keeping the crazy at bay while we worked through tech set-up. You guys were all fantastic and I loved hearing your stories. An extra big thanks goes to Kristen Hamilton for suggesting me to Jinu, and to Jinu for inviting me to participate. I’m honored & grateful.

As promised, here’s a link to the highlights & slides you guys wanted to keep.

If there’s anything else I can do to help, feel free to drop me an email: dnicole (at) AspireOne (dot) com otherwise I’d love to hear in the comments what you valued most about Collyde this year.

Do Women Have Something of Value to Say?

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I’ll have to admit I was a bit shocked with the social circus that erupted yesterday surrounding The Nines. Comments were taken out of context, included in a snapshot & spread like wildfire from there.

I know Todd Rhoades, others in senior leadership with The Leadership Network and have spoken at The Nines myself. To say they are biased in any capacity or don’t value the opinions of women is just ridiculous. Christianity Today added more context to what was going on for those interested in the whole story.

Quite frankly, I want to just shake my head in disappointment whenever someone asks me about “gender equality” or why more women aren’t represented on the stage of leadership issues in the church. I recognize there are some very real challenges with how some interpret who can and cannot teach others in a biblical setting that are several pay grades above my ability to weigh in.

But this isn’t about that.

My hope is that when I’m asked to speak at an event, it’s because the organizers believe it’s because I have something of value to offer participants and it fits their programming goals. Not because they need X number of females or Y% of ethnic representation and I fit the bill. Anything less would just be a slap in the face.

If we need to bring awareness to those who are doing great things but may be under the radar, then let’s do that… regardless of what flavor or gender they may be. But let’s not pretend it should be expected just because we’re female. Or black. Or white. Or (fill in the blank).

A platform is earned because of what we have to offer.

Echo ’13 :: Telling Your Story [notes & goodies]

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Thanks again for everyone who came yesterday. As promised, here are the key slides, video links & notes from people who did a fantastic job of making me sound smarter than I actually am. 

Video Links

Live Notes

  • Josh Burns [@jburno] 
  • Adam Legg [@AdamLegg]
  • And an insanely cool artistic notes version by Candace Payne [above]Image

Charts & Slides