Give yourself permission to stand out

I know I’ve already started slacking on my blog (again), but I lost my humor and creativity somewhere last week and every time I tried writing a post, a stray unicorn died or something, but thanks to some spirit[s] – and I don’t mean God – I think I found it again. So hopefully you’ll enjoy this post and even if you don’t learn anything, maybe you’ll at least laugh once #HighStandards

*Warning: if you’re not interested in PR/Marketing/Digital/The-Secret-To-Life-Packaged-In-Clever-Witticisms…please leave now…then come back with a bottle of wine and you’ll be surprised how much you enjoy this post.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the NC PR & Marketing Seminar at UNC. It was a fairly interesting conference, the highlight definitely being the keynote address from Ray Kotcher of Ketchum. He kinda reminded me of the Dumbledore of the PR/Marketing world because he just spewed out nuggets of wisdom for the entire course of his speech and he also met Edward Bernays once (literally the Father of Public Relations), so I felt like I was in the presence of marketing royalty.  Here are his nuggets for you to enjoy, sorry they’re not in the form of dinosaurs:

dinosaur-nuggetsashx

  • He opened up by talking about how we (those in PR/Marketing/Advertising roles) are in the business of ideas…we’re storytellers. I loved that. I’m sure every industry conference says things to the effect of “we’re the shit at coming up with ideas and changing the world” too, but marketing literally permeates your entire life, whether you’re an anti-corporate hipster* or not, so the ideas we come up with will probably reach you one way or another…which is really kinda cool.
  • To expand on that, he talked about how we live in a world of instant, constant communication now and if we’re not instantly gripped by an idea…we move on…fast. Your audience can choose to step back and just ignore you in a heartbeat. So our ideas have to be that much greater and intriguing. And we have to realize the agenda is not set from on high…social media has literally given power to the people and marketers need to respect and accept that. We must not only engage audiences, but we have to engage more fully: we need to listen, engage, participate, tell stories, respond…every active verb you can think of
  • “The impact of a 140 character tweet can trump the New York Times.” Yeah. Chew on that.
  • Marketers must know the worth of RISCs = Research, Insights, Strategy, Creativity
  • Be a global citizen (Check. Thanks Elon). We need to understand global communities to communicate effectively. We need to speak not only across the fence to our next door neighbors, but we need to speak across oceans because there really are no fences or boundaries anymore.
  • You must have an insatiable curiosity about the world.
  • Have systematic observations of what’s going on around you (ah yes, I knew my love and talent for people-watching would one day prove useful rather than just merely creepy). You need to have the ability to put your observations together in unique ways to create something new and social media really has the ability to create this robust energy to inspire these connections that lead to the new ideas (case in point: crowd sourcing)
  • He also talked about what the leaders of this industry will look like and what they need to have: richness of perspective; a diverse background (and no, this does NOT just mean black vs. white, people…GET OVER THAT IDEA); the ability to write and also dive into data; ability to motivate a team and dazzle a client even at 8:30am; know a little bit of Photoshop; know that it’s not about playing it safe but being courageous enough to take risks

And then the T-Rex of nuggets, which went along with the message of another presenter from the conference who said “Do something that scares you. Fail fast.”:

Give yourself permission to stand out and BE BOLD

Basically be this Zebra, that I think is my spirit animal, amongst all basic bitch Zebras.

Basically be this Zebra, that I think is my spirit animal, amongst all other basic bitch Zebras.

*Not hating on hipsters. You could call me one.

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