August 2018 Soto’s Chronicles
Protecting your most valuable asset — your family
CONTENT IS KING H ow to F ind U nique and E ngaging M aterial for Y our M arketing
FROM THE DESK OF DeDe Soto
Let’s face it: Marketing has hit a wall. Everyone is looking for the next unique way to engage the broadest demographic possible, but they just can’t break through. Do you want to know why? Go to the websites of startups, mid-sized businesses, and massive conglomerates. What do you see? They all have the same aesthetic, the same content, and the same tone — each packaged just differently enough to make them look unique. Audiences want new content faster than marketers can provide it. Just as social media embraces trends, businesses market to consumers. Once a company strikes a chord that resonates with the masses, everyone jumps on the bandwagon until the marketing strategy is wildly overused and therefore ineffective. Rather than businesses dictating how they market to consumers, the pendulum has swung so that marketing strategies are in the hands of the consumer. The quick progression of technology in recent years could be a cause of this shift of power, but the reason matters less than the result. Businesses are left to either try to create the next big marketing trend or ride an existing one until it’s out of gas. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Every business is sitting on a gold mine of content-driven marketing; they just haven’t tapped into it. The biggest resource for a company to market is its leader. One strategy that has gained a significant amount of traction in recent years is the personal branding of companies’ leaders. But just as other marketing has become standardized and generic, so has personal branding. Owners and CEOs have become robotic in what they say and how they act. It’s as if they’ve all gone through the same media coaching. Leaders are so concerned with slipping up that they won’t take risks. But when did being authentic become risky? Here’s the truth of the matter: If you’re a business leader, people will listen to you. Most people are drawn to the same qualities that make a person successful.
Happy August! Summer is coming to an end, but the weather is hotter than ever! I hope you are relaxing and preparing for some cooler weather. This month I have dedicated a couple of articles to the entrepreneurs and business owners — as well as our furry friends — enjoy. If you have college-bound students who are 18, you should make sure their health care directives are in place. Once a child turns 18, parents are no longer able to make decisions unless proper documents are in place. Of course, we can assist your family with these documents. Make sure and visit our website TheSotoLawGroup. com for workshops, or if you or someone you know needs some estate planning, give us a call. Until next time, many Blessings,
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once said he only wanted “cool, good-looking people” to shop at his store and that “a lot of people don’t belong” in his company’s clothing. As a result, the retailer’s sales swiftly dropped by $60 million, and Jeffries was forced to retire soon after. It’s important to remember that being authentic doesn’t require you to share your darkest secrets, political views, or controversial opinions with your customers. But it does require you to support causes you care about, answer questions honestly, and be genuine. When push comes to shove, you have to choose your business. Do you want to blend in with the masses or do you want to build a business that stands out by genuinely engaging with consumers? The decision may seem easy, but “playing it safe” by using tired and overused marketing strategies is precisely that — safe. You won’t step on any toes, you won’t alienate potential customers, and you won’t cause rifts in the business community. But you also won’t stand out or stay relevant. The choice is up to you.
But the second you begin heavily regulating the way you think, act, and feel, potential consumers are going to turn away. If you’re considering using authentic content in your marketing, here are three reasons to reassure you that it’s a good idea.
Every business tries to cultivate distinct and engaging content, but no one wants to take a big risk and be rejected. The problem is that most companies tie unique selling propositions (USPs) to the features of their product or service rather than focusing on what is truly special about their business: its leader. If you want to distinguish yourself by using a USP, try marketing your individuality. You may find that people want to be a part of something more genuine than formulaic. In many cases, highlighting your personality with branding will end up garnering more respect from your customers than just going through the standard marketing motions. But if you’re not careful, this strategy can also go wildly astray. The companies who have failed in this respect are well-documented, and their sales have suffered. Clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO, Michael Jeffries, IT’S RESPECTFUL
Marketing is all about creating a dialogue. Take a moment and think about the most significant conversations you’ve ever had. Did any of them begin with you using a formula of how to engage someone? Odds are the conversation resulted from sharing a genuine moment with someone you value. If your business is truly seeking to have meaningful dialogue with customers, the best way to do that is to treat them like you would a neighbor or friend. All good communication takes is a sender, a receiver, and a medium. If you open up a deliberate channel, you’ll be more accessible to your audience and have a greater opportunity to create new ideas and strategies with them.
When Life GivesYou Lemons ... 4 Business Lessons From Young Entrepreneurs
Lemonade stands are rumored to have originated with New York journalist Edward Bok, who, as a kid growing up in Brooklyn, sold ice water on hot summer days to thirsty passersby. When other water salespeople tried to move in on Bok’s profit, he got creative by adding lemon juice and eventually sugar to the mix. The result of this innovation? Sales soared.
says, “I advertised through Facebook and word of mouth. I created my own business page. I shared it with friends, family, and the community. ArkLaTex Horse Rescue advertised my stand, and I posted advertisements to many local Facebook groups as well.”
Lemonade stands continue to be a popular summer pastime for burgeoning entrepreneurs, and there are a few things we can learn from these humble business endeavors.
BUILD YOUR BUSINESS AROUND YOUR VALUES.
of the stand was frequented by many French- speaking Canadian customers, and since the friend was born in Montreal and spoke French, the girls greeted each customer in English and French. More conversation makes more sales. ASK FOR REFERRALS. Megan, kid entrepreneur and owner of “Dr. Megan’s Mad Mango Lemonade” in Louisiana, knows a thing or two about the value of word-of-mouth marketing. Megan makes sure customers have an easy time spreading the word about the refreshing lemonade. In her second summer running the stand, Megan
BE ADAPTABLE. Warren Buffet has had business on the brain since birth. During his childhood, when he noticed that a friend’s house got more foot traffic than his did, the future tycoon moved his lemonade stand to the prime realty. Buffett obviously benefited from this innovation; the jury is still out on his friend.
Have you heard of anyone starting a million- dollar lemonade stand? There’s one person who has, and her name is Alex. She was diagnosed with cancer as a young girl, and her determined spirit motivated her to fight back. She started a lemonade stand to raise money for other kids with cancer. The message of the stand with a purpose spread, and Alex raised $2,000 in a single day. Sadly, Alex passed away when she was 8, but her legacy continues to thrive through her family, who turned Alex’s Lemonade Stand into a foundation. It’s raised over $127 million for cancer research.
GO ABOVE AND BEYOND FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS.
When Ann Handley’s daughter and her friend opened up a lemonade stand, they found a way to connect with their demographic. The location
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Become a ‘Dog Whisperer’ Train as a Pack for Better Results
them. “To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking,” advises the Humane Society.
Your whole family adores your dog — but not the barking. This issue can lead to feelings of frustration, and the more frustrated you get, the more your dog barks. It’s their only way of communicating, and they’re telling you, “My needs are not being met.” As Cesar Millan, the original “dog whisperer,” explains, “A barking dog needs exercise, discipline, and affection, in that order.” EXERCISE Part of the barking issue may be due to pent-up energy. According to the humane society, “A tired dog is a good dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration.” If you already take your pup on a morning walk, try adding in an evening walk. You could add it to your child’s chore list and help get out some of the kid’s pent-up energy, too. It may also be beneficial to practice obedience exercises and games that challenge your dog. DISCIPLINE To put a stop to the behavior, you’ll first need to change any of your behavior that’s reinforcing it. Any attention your dog gets when he’s barking — even yelling, “Rover, stop!”— teaches him to keep going, because you’re rewarding him with attention. Wait until your dog has stopped barking to give him any sort of attention, including looking at
AFFECTION Of course, your dog needs love and attention to thrive — a lack of it could contribute to barking behavior. Reinforce silence by giving your dog a
treat and an encouraging pat when she demonstrates good behavior, like not barking. “Our pups want to work for our attention,” Cesar Millan reminds us. “Allowing her to do that and to see your happiness is, to your dog, the biggest reward of all.” To make your training program successful, consistency is key. Enlist the help of the whole family to stick to the principles. Together, you can foster a calm, peaceful home where you and your dog happily coexist.
Take a Break!
GREEN BEAN AND SESAME SALAD
If you need an easy, healthy side dish with plenty of flavor, this green bean salad will be the perfect addition to your summer menu.
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 cups green beans, ends trimmed
Small bunch of fresh mint
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil; cook green beans for 4–5 minutes; drain well. 2. In a blender, mix finely chopped mint and parsley with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Blend until combined. 3. Add dressing, onion, and sesame seeds to beans. Toss together. Cool dish, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe courtesy of LoveAndLemons.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of DeDe PAGE 1 The Hidden Gold Mine of Content Marketing PAGE 1 What You Can Learn From the Most Successful Lemonade Stands PAGE 2 How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Green Bean and Sesame Salad PAGE 3 Have You Played the Oldest Games in the World? PAGE 4 People love to play games. When you play Angry Birds while waiting in line at the grocery store, you are actually participating in a long history of gaming that dates back to the earliest civilizations. Through the discovery of ancient game boards, archaeologists learned that the ancient Egyptians played a game called Senet in 3500 B.C. The rules were lost to time, but fortunately, there are plenty of other ancient games we still have the rules for! SNAKES AND LADDERS Sometime during the 2nd century A.D., people in India started playing a board game associated with aspects of traditional Hindu philosophy — namely, the contrast between karma (destiny) and kama (desire). A dice was rolled to navigate a game board where good virtues, represented by ladders, allowed players to move up on the board, and evil vices, represented by snakes, would drag pieces back down. The phrase“Back to square one”is believed to have originated
Game Night Goes (Really) Retro The Oldest Games You Can Play Today
discipline, and focus. Two players go head- to-head, placing their pieces on the board to claim as much territory as possible while simultaneously capturing their opponent’s pieces. Go is likely the oldest board game still being played today, with an estimated 40 million players worldwide. Though the rules are simple, the strategies take a lifetime to master. These are a just a few games that people have been playing around the world for centuries. If you’re ready to
from this game. Snakes and Ladders made its way to England before being brought over to the United States, where it was introduced as “Chutes and Ladders”by none other than Milton Bradley in 1943. BACKGAMMON A blend of luck and strategy, backgammon originated in the Middle East around 5,000 years ago. Possibly an evolution of the ancient Mesopotamian game, the Royal Game of Ur, backgammon has players take turns rolling the dice to move their pieces off the board while trying to outsmart their opponent. Backgammon grew in popularity, spreading from the Middle East to the rest of the ancient world, and is still played by many today.
add something new to family game night, try something old instead!
GO Originating in China around the 5th
century B.C., Go — or “weiqi,” as it’s called in China — focuses on the virtues of balance,
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