Author Archive for Bea Fields

Is Your Company Socially Media Savvy? Take the Quiz

Each day, we speak with people who inquire about social media, and the question more often than not is this “Is it even worth pursuing the use of social media as a part of our marketing plan?” 

In our opinion, the answer is “Yes!”  Social media marketing for both small and large businesses is a must.  New media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube, Google+ and the use of smart phone technology) is going to bec0me increasingly important to enhance your business and the relationships you build online. Take the short quiz below to assess your progress. On completing the quiz, you will be directed to a page, “How did you score?”

[gravityform id=2 name=IsYour Company Social Media Savvy?]

Bea Fields is President of Bea Fields Companies, Inc., offering leadership coaching and training for high growth companies.  She is also the founder and facilitator of the highly popular program Become a Blogging Maniac, which transforms novices into skilled bloggers and communicators.

If you would like help with your social media program, contact Jeannette Paladino.

 

 

7 Questions to Consider Before Writing a Book

[tweetmeme]As someone who has written a few books, I may have made a few different choices by answering these questions first.

1.  Why do you want to write a book?

I wrote a book basically because my colleagues told me I needed to write a book.  Honestly, that is not a great reason.  Another reason that is more than likely not going to happen is to become wealthy.  Unless you are J.K. Rowling or John Grisham, you are probably going to either break even or lose money on your book.   There are, however, a few great reasons to write a book:

  • To act as a calling card for your business
  • To increase your speaking fees
  • To enhance your credibility
  • To serve as a platform for building a training, consulting or coaching program

2.  What type of book do you want to write?

This answer truly depends on the industry you are in.  If you are a romance writer, then you are probably more than likely going to write a romance novel.  Writing a great novel takes skill, time and creativity, so consider some types of books which have already been bit hits:

  • How-to books
  • “Tell it all sister” books (yes…the secrets in the closet do sell)
  • A business book that has not already been written (don’t regurgitate another business book unless you have a new spin)
  • A recipe book that is very niche oriented (Example:  Gourmet vegetarian recipes for dogs)
  • A great travel book.  If you have visited a country, make great notes of small “hot spots” that you won’t find in Fodors or by travel writers.  Write about great hostels, small cozy restaurants tucked away on a hill or a great retail shop with bargain prices.

3.   How much time can you realistically dedicate to writing a book?

On the two main books I wrote, I had a great amount of help from an author management company, and I still dedicated 2-3 hours a day to writing and filling in the blanks.  If you are a solo writer, you are probably looking at a 40 hour a week job for at least three months.  Some prolific writers can spit out a book over a week-end, but this is not the norm.  Many people will actually take one year off from their regular job, travel to a remote, isolated location and do nothing but write a book.  Look closely at your job, family life, travel plans and future schedule before making this commitment.

4.   Are you going to self publish a book or go through an agent and a book publishing company?

In this day and age, going through finding an agent and then a publisher who will actually put their name on your book CAN be a long and painful process.  You will get rejection after rejection letter from both agents and publishers who don’t like your book or just don’t have the time to take it on.  From my experience, I would highly recommend going the self publishing route, sell a few thousand copies on your own and then go to an agent and/or publisher with your book pitch.

5.   How much time can you realistically dedicate to marketing your book?

When people hire me to consult for them or coach them on writing a book, I often hear “Well, I am going through a publisher, so I don’t need to worry about the marketing of this book.”  Again, unless you are  J.K  Rowling, a publisher is NOT going to market your book.  They are going to rely on you to market AND sell your book.  As a matter of fact, their decision on whether or not to represent you rests in your ability to sell books.  Just as in any business, you will want to dedicate at least two hours each day for at least 9-12 months to marketing your book.  There are over 100 ways to market a book, and you truly have to use each and every strategy out there to get your book to become known.

6.    Are you going to publish hard copy, paperback or a digital book?

Digital readers are becoming more and more popular and they are super slick and easy to use AND to read.  The font is clear and the reader doesn’t have to hassle with flipping pages, bending the paperback versions or bookmarking with a sticky note.  A hard copy book is impressive, but if you really want to sell a book, you will be a smart author if you look at getting your book published in Kindle or another digital reader format.

7.    What are your plans for leveraging your book into other products and services?

Many people never consider this question.  Your book may be a great book that will become a series of books, workshops, speaking topics or self study workbooks.  Sit down and map out a plan for repurposing your book for other opportunities down the road.

Writing a book can be a challenge, and it is so very rewarding.  By sitting down and really mapping out a plan for writing your book, you will be able to leverage opportunities you never considered.  Best of luck to you in writing your first (or next) book!

Bea Fields is President of Bea Fields Companies, Inc., offering leadership coaching and training for high growth companies.  She is also the founder and facilitator of the highly popular program Become a Blogging Maniac, which transforms novices into skilled bloggers and communicators.

Next Gen Branding with Leadership in Mind: What You Can’t Afford Not to Know

President, Bea Fields Companies, Inc.

[tweetmeme]Our Next Generation…Generation Y. You’ve heard that they don’t watch TV, and you’ve probably been told that they don’t read that much. Your research tells you that you can’t target them through MTV anymore, and you certainly can’t tell Gen Y what is cool. So how do you reach these 71 million “Millennials” who spend over 200 billion dollars annually and will soon replace the baby boomer generation as the largest percentage of the workforce? The answer is simple—you STOP marketing to them. Stop trying to wiggle your brand around so that it meets their needs. Just stop! Let me explain.

First, let’s look at who they are. As a baby boomer, I can tell you that this generation—sometimes called the “Connecteds”—are our own invention. We raised Gen Y to believe that they can do anything and be anything. We made their lives easy enough that they now believe they deserve to live first and work second. (How dare them!) So the first thing we have to do is stop being ticked off at our own creation and embrace the brilliance of this Gen Y community.

This is the most optimistic generation to ever walk the face of the planet. They absolutely believe that miracles are possible. They refuse to work a job that does not bring them a sense of joy. They care about the earth and servicing their community. They have watched their parents be downsized, laid off and fired…so they are skeptical about big business and entrepreneurial thinking is deeply ingrained in their DNA. In Gen Y, we have created the possibility for everything that we wanted for the world. So we must stop whining about them being entitled and embrace the power of this generation. Once we do that, we can then begin to take a closer look at who they are, what makes them tick, and what they want from our businesses.

Let’s look at who has been successful at building a brand to reach our next generation:

  • Apple
  • Jet Blue
  • Trader Joes
  • Jones Soda
  • Mountain Dew
  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Red Bull

Here are just a few of the reasons why these companies are so popular with Generation Y:

  • Cheap cost
  • Good quality
  • Fast service
  • An “experience”

When Apple created the 99-cent download that took eight seconds to transact, they hit the nail on the head with Gen Y. Music is an experience, the quality is stellar, the cost is low, and the purchase happens instantly. What did Apple do right? They spoke directly to Gen Y and asked the question: What do you want?

So who gets Gen Y’s attention? Living in an age where information is everywhere and where everyone can reach them, the Gen Y community is VERY selective about who they listen to. Just look at their MySpace and Facebook accounts, and you’ll recognize that they get their information from one another—NOT from us, and certainly not from the media. And the information they get from each other is not in emails, which most of them don’t even touch anymore (I know you probably thought you were being hip with your 100 emails a day!). They text one another. They IM. They watch each other on YouTube. And sometimes they do all three at the same time! Most importantly, Gen Y does NOT care about what you have to say unless you have been endorsed by their friends. They care about what their community says, and they take each other and their network’s recommendations VERY seriously.

So taking that into account, how do you reach them? Well, understand that Gen Y is an “experience” culture. They do not want to be told what to like or what to do. They want to experience the world for themselves and pass their own judgment. They love to be in the trenches of life, and they want to be there with their friends. HERE is where you have to meet them if you want to be taken seriously and respected by this generation enough for them to buy from you:

* Concerts (Gen Y LOVES live music.)

* Extreme sporting events (skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX)

* Movies (mainstream as well as art-house)

* Hiking events (They love the outdoors)

* Video games and video game competitions (Cyber Athlete Professional League, GameCaster, Global Gaming League)

* Mashups (Weather Bonk, Where’s Tim Hibbard, Y! Mash, Sims on Stage)

* Social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Second Life, del.icio.us, DIGG)

* Tattoo parlors (36 percent of them have at least one tattoo)

Before you begin heading off in the direction of marketing to Gen Y, there is a major element we need to discuss, and that is how to build your brand on the inside so that you show respect to these men and women when you are talking with them as consumers and potential employees. These aspects MUST be a part of your brand…from the way you live inside your organization to the way you live in your community to the way you sell products and services:

Creativity – To be in demand for new, fresh ideas, divergent thinking and new solutions to old problems. To design environments to ensure those creative ideas get on the table. All ideas, no matter how bizarre, will be celebrated and no employees will be exempt from sharing their creativity with the company.

Integrity – Being fully committed to consistency of values, actions, principles, expectations and outcomes, with all stakeholders. With a focus on integrity, companies need to bea dedicated to a sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to tjeor motivations. Companies will be scrutinized by the next generation of leaders based on how well you walk your talk in regards to our code of ethics.

Freedom in thinking – Next Generation Brands should respect the unique thinking philosophies and cultural norms of all stakeholders. A company will be challenged to be fully committed to leveraging this unique thinking in order to be the leader in your industry.

Innovation – To be dedicated to leveraging your creativity to bring new products and services to the marketplace which will improve efficiency and quality of life for all stakeholders.

Ongoing learning and development – Next Gen Brands need to be fully dedicated to providing the coaching and training necessary to maximize the true potential of every employee of your company. You will also be asked to be committed to offering ongoing learning and development programs to all stakeholders to help them make life and business easier, more profitable, and more productive. Your company will need to be dedicated to leveraging your training and development outreach programs to build stronger, more collaborative relationships with all stakeholders.

Transparency -To be dedicated to being a see-through organization. With this position, you are committed to open communication and meetings, answering tough questions directly, financial disclosure statements, information sharing, budgetary reviews and audits. You will be committed to full accountability to your leadership code of ethics and when you fall short of promises made to all stakeholders and the general public.

So what does all this mean to you? It means that you cannot directly market to them until you buy into them, until you value their perspective on life. So while other experts are out there giving you “tricks” to market to Gen Y, I’m here saying STOP marketing to them and START listening to them and honoring their core values. Hang out with them. Experience life with them. Respect them. If you do, their outlook on life will change you. You’ll begin to behave differently, take on some new values, and begin to live more yourself. When you do that, you’ll find your audience within this generation. Then talking “with” them, not “at” them will sell your business.

For more information on this topic, visit Next Generation Branding