Elizabeth Keserauskis

Building relationships and making connections

Building Your Personal Brand

I saw a segment with Steadman Graham this morning on FOX 2 News, talking about how you have to know who you are before you can get out in the business world and trying to sell yourself as an employee to a company or as a resourcing company. It seems very appropriate to talk about how, as an individual, you need to also manage your reputation, in addition to your company or organization that you’re working for.

As I help someone near and dear to me work on her resume after 35 years at the same company, I’m reminding myself that we need to not only to fill the resume, we also need to discover what are her core strengths and how can we package that into a proposition for a company, a set of resources for a company that’s going to hire versus just an individual with a great resume. My challenge today is to think about how you can invent yourself as an individual with a value proposition–this is ironic because I spend so much time helping companies and figure out who they are and how to fill the need of their customers. My next challenge is going to be how to bring that down to the individual level, and help this person near and dear to my heart package and present themselves to companies as a valuable resource.

LinkedIn is a great tool I strongly advocate. I have several examples of success using LinkedIn as a networking tool, including as a way for companies to find candidates for their marketing positions. Now my challenge is going to become having a real example or case study of helping individuals create their strengths and package them as a resource for businesses in the area as they look to start phase two of their career.

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May 28, 2010 Posted by | connecting, marketing, relationships, reputation management | , , , , | Leave a comment

Engaging Presentations

Last night I attended the Meet the Design Teams event for The City + The River + The Arch Competition at the Roberts Orpheum Theater in St. Louis. They have narrowed the field down to five design teams who are vying for the chance to design the landscape around the St. Louis Arch grounds on both sides of the Mississippi River and do a better job of incorporating this iconic piece of public sculpture into the city of St. Louis and it’s tourism industry.

I have to say it was very refreshing to watch Joe Buck as the emcee. He really injected some humor into it. He came right out of the gate saying that this was going to be a fun event rather than a formal event and almost took more of a approach of a traditional “roast” event rather than a formal presentation. So, immediately I was heartened to see that it wasn’t going to be a long boring night of presentations.

However, when the first design team got up to present their capabilities and their team members, I was a little disappointed the he was not as engaging a speaker as Joe Buck. I wasn’t expecting him to be a perfect speaker. However, I was asking for it to be a little bit more engaging and interesting and to capture my attention.

I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that the presentation set-up in the theater was poor. The image quality on the projection screen was dark and blurry at best. I don’t have the best eye sight but I don’t need glasses, and sitting in the back of the theater it was extremely difficult if not impossible to read any of the text on the slides and to make out the specific details and some of the images. And, his presentation was heavy on photography and imagery. So, I found that to be distracting and I lost interest very quickly in what he was saying because, I struggled to see what he was referring to on the presentation slides.

So, I guess my take away from this event was the importance of being an engaging and dynamic speaker. To capture the attention of an audience that can range anywhere from people who are specifically interested in architecture and design to just the general public interested in what’s happening in the community. You have to find that perfect balance between getting very technical to please the technical people but, also being very engaging and top of a strategy oriented to draw in the general public.

I also understood the importance of really understanding the venue in which you are presenting and the tools that are available for you, and tailoring your presentation to meet those challenges. I think that if any speaker would have paid close attention to the venue and the equipment available, they probably would have tailored their presentation a bit differently to meet those equipment challenges. And therefore, would have done a better job of engaging people.

Some of the best presentations I’ve seen interacted with the audience and really drew people with what interested them into the presentation. I know that it’s difficult to do with a large crowd but I think it’s possible.

So, my challenge to myself and to all of you is: What are you going to do to make each presentation different and unique and draw in that audience?

April 29, 2010 Posted by | connecting, engaging, public relations, reputation management | , , , | Leave a comment

Ed-Glen Chamber Presentation

Today I spoke with the members of the Edwardsville-Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce. They invited me to speak with them about incorporating social media tools in their marketing strategy. If you missed the event, or are just plain curious, you can download my slide deck on SlideShare, along with several recent presentations I have made on web user behavior (specifically millenials) and more (http://www.slideshare.net/bethkeserauskis).

April 27, 2010 Posted by | connecting, marketing, relationships, reputation management, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Immeasurable Success Measurements

I often wonder how you can determine whether your brand has become successful, and whether your current customers, or in our case, our current students, have truly embraced what we are trying to establish as the brand of our organization.

One example that I found recently is that students are clamoring to become part of our advertising campaign.  We do feature real students and faculty in our advertising, prints, billboard, radio, and their stories – their actual stories of success, or the path that they have taken to get to SIUE.  And recently, I have heard that there are students that are asking how they can get involved and be on a billboard, or be one of our student testimonials on our website.

I understand that part of that is their vanity and wanting to see their face on a billboard, but it does tell me that they are extremely proud to represent SIUE. No matter how vain you are, if you don’t believe in what you are representing, it becomes very difficult to slap on a logo and associate it with your face. So, it made me quite happy to find out that there are students who are truly interested in becoming the face and voice of SIUE. That is just one very intangible way that I measure whether what we are trying to do with our brand is being successful. In a series of later posts, I will talk about some specific measurable returns on investments that you can take a look at to see if you are being successful with your brand advertising campaign.

April 6, 2010 Posted by | higher education, marketing, reputation management | , , , | Leave a comment

The power of service with a smile

Luck o' the IrishThis morning my husband and I wanted to join in the “luck o’ the Irish” and have a pre-St. Pat’s Day parade traditional Irish breakfast at a local Irish pub. We have patronized this establishment in the past, and believe in supporting local businesses. Our experience prior to this particular morning has always been fine. Never extraordinary, but fine nonetheless.

Not so this morning. We read in the local paper that they were serving breakfast this Irish morning (note: they are not typically open for breakfast). What we did not notice until we arrived and saw the sign on the door was that reservations were required. Noting that there was NO ONE yet in the restaurant (and they were indeed open), we decided to go in and explain that we did not have reservations and see if they could still accommodate us. The bouncer at the door (yes, even at breakfast they were anticipating that the St. Patrick’s day partying and drinking would begin at the start of the day) and the first server we came across were very friendly and happily said they would go find out.

After standing there for what felt like 20 minutes (but was really like 5), noticing that food was ready to be served, that NO ONE was in there eating breakfast yet and remembering that the bouncer told us no one had made reservations before 8am (it was 7:15), we told him not to worry about it that we would just leave. Right at that point the server came back and told us we could eat. This was also after being able to watch her ask presumably the owner whether he would allow us to stay and eat, and then watching him sigh, look at us and say okay.

Then we were sat at the family-style long table by ourselves, served our coffee and shown the buffet area (which was already completely stocked with food). Our server visited us a total of three times—for us to order coffee, receive coffee and asked if we needed a refill. We spent 20 minutes in silence by ourselves eating breakfast with no one else arriving for their reservation. Thankfully we had enough cash and exact change to cover the bill and tip, because we left largely unnoticed. The only saving grace was the bouncer thanked us for our business and told us to have a nice day.

If you are in the restaurant business, you are clearly in the customer service business. If your customers are not having a great experience, they are not going to build a relationship with you and continue to patronize you. However strongly I feel about patronizing local businesses, experiences like this make me want to rethink the strategy. My recommendation to them is to assign the bouncer a new role: Chief of Customer Experience. He was the only one who made us feel welcome.

Is your customer experience warm and welcoming? Do you make your customers feel like an interruption to your day or a vital component of your success? Whether you are in the restaurant business, retail sales or higher education—your audience is passing judgment on your business based on their experience and telling other people about it. Make sure they are talking about what a wonderful experience they had with you.

March 13, 2010 Posted by | marketing, relationships, reputation management, sales | , , | Leave a comment

So much more than just a logo

A logo is really just a picture or letters. what is so much more important is whether your publics understand what the substance is behind the pretty picture. Do people know what your value proposition is? Do they know WII-FM (what’s in it for me)? What are the core values as an organization? Is any of this being communicated with your logo and promo materials tincluding your Web presence)?

I am encountering so many people and departments in higher education who think that all their success depends on their ability to have their own logo and graphic identity–specifically one that is separate and distinct from the university’s marks and identity. Putting a new pretty picture (logo) on coffee mugs, polos and memo pads is NOT going to cause your team to work in a cohesive fashion to serve customers. It is NOT going to magically welcome your target audience through your doors and want to use your services. It is NOT going to differentiate you and communicate your value proposition.

How are your working to build relationships? How are you engaging your audiences in meaningful conversations? Are you telling the stories of success often and everywhere? Are you findable in the communication spaces where your publics are spending time? Are you able to articulate your value proposition?

Jumbled LettersIf you can answer or address those questions, then jumping right to creating a logo and doing what people think is “branding” themselves will only serve to dilute the overall university brand and allow people to continue to ignore the important business questions.

I guess this happens because it’s easier to draw a pretty picture than tackle the tougher questions.

November 4, 2009 Posted by | higher education, marketing, reputation management | , , | Leave a comment

Finally!

Ah, the official foray into the blogging world. I never thought I would have the time to maintain a blog that people would actually want to consistently read. But that is my new commitment to myself–to walk the walk. Thanks to many encouragements from friends, coworkers and nudges from industry leaders I am finally here.

How can I be a good reputation/relationship/brand manager for a company if I am not leading by example and establishing my own brand, managing my own reputation and creating relationships of my own in the online space?? And so it shall begin!

October 29, 2009 Posted by | leadership, relationships, reputation management | , , | Leave a comment