Tag archive for "Chris Brogan"

My Three Words for 2011

Attitude and Success, Planning & Goal Setting

My Three Words for 2011

No Comments 12 January 2011

Last October, Chris Brogan generously bought our breakfast at a little downtown Mobile, Alabama cafe – which really wasn’t playing fair after he had already spent so much more of his time investing in our ideas… Andy and I got a lot of value that morning – so much that thanks doesn’t begin to cover it. (On second thought, maybe I can pay him back by exporting grits to New England?).

Beyond what happened that day, there is one concept that I think Chris originated that has really encouraged me a lot – it’s his idea about “three words.”

Embedded Words

Last year I toyed with the “three words” concept a lot, and I just took some time to get my sea legs under me on this idea. My take is that the three words are like a short term mission statement for me, and as such and not wanting to be flippant about it, I literally took a year to think about this and when the clock rolled over to 2011, my three words for 2011 were already concretely etched in my mind and have been driving my work everyday of this year (and okay, for a wee bit before). I talk about them, and I frame my business and life around them… at least for this year… until a new season comes around.

Kings, Diplomacy, Advocacy

Kings. This is one of Chris’ 2010 words. And while I’m getting bored with him having all of the good ideas first, I have to say that this one really gelled with me, and I can’t escape having it on my list this year. Kings have kingdoms. Kings can find other kingdoms with which to partner, kings wear crowns and kings conduct diplomacy and advocacy. Kings meet with other kings and support them. Sometimes they even help create other kingdoms. I want us to act more kingly (or queenly as the case must be for me). I want to be a servant king without wasting time – mine or anyone elses. I want to be wise. I want to meet other kings and create kingdoms and train new kings. Kings have authority, confidence… good kings are trusted, valued, and are ultimately – servants of their kingdom. I want to be about all of that – and we are on that path with the infancy of new business models (new kingdoms) that will support local businesses and specific geographic areas in new ways during 2011.

Diplomacy.  Competition is out; diplomacy is in. Webster’s says (among other things) that “in an informal or social sense, diplomacy is the employment of tact to gain strategic advantage or to find mutually acceptable solutions to a common challenge, one set of tools being the phrasing of statements in a non-confrontational, or polite manner.” Diplomacy is, at its core, about partnerships and trust. It’s about relationships, respect, and mutual benefit. Diplomacy is equal opportunity: with superiors, equals and up-and-comers. Diplomacy should stretch us and our ideas to better places and benefit lots of people beyond ourselves.

Advocacy. I want to stand up for those that need help. In some way of late, that is why my passion for local business has only grown – not weakened. As I’ve seen government efforts largely fail and small business owners grope for new ways to find success, I’ve sought to not just help – but become an advocate in various ways. My heart is to put myself aside and pour out my life in service to others – my family, my friends, those who can’t help themselves (the homeless, unemployed, orphaned) and on a work front: local businesses. Advocates go to bat for someone that needs help and stands in the gap to make a way for things to get better. Advocates fill a need and reinforce another’s position. I encourage and will pursue customer advocacy a lot this year to help businesses and my own projects provide remarkable customer experiences, to build customer loyalty, to grow customer communities and reach new kingdoms of customers. I want to serve how our kingdoms need us to serve – not continue to serve in the way that we always have – that seems like an advocate sort of thing to do.

Lastly, I can’t help but throw this out there…. After a year of simmering on the idea of three words, I also narrowed down a bigger theme that I instituting as my personal and business purpose statement. It’s not a word so much as a short phrase – but it’s about a concept that we all struggle with at one time or another. It’s about going the distance – not fading in the last inning. It’s about finding completeness and pursuing things to the end. It’s about doing my best until it’s done – and nothing short. It’s about never looking backwards and being defeated by past mistakes – and about looking forward to what I can do now – and in the future. My fourth word (well, phrase) of the year will last well beyond 2011. “Finish well.”

More “Three Words”

Following are some other blog posts out there following this same theme using the “three words” for guiding their year. These are some ideas that might guide you – and encouraged me to read. I hope you find them encouraging, too.

Chris Penn’s three words do not disappoint. He is always a genius and makes everyone think harder.

Beth Kanter’s three words post includes a nice chart and some cool references… She’s a smart thinker.

Michelle Wolverton challenged me with her choice of “fearlessness.” Plus, I hear she’s from the South, so she must be awesome.

Susan Murphy has three great ideas in her three words – but I like the concept of “intersections” the best – kinda fits well with some of my words as well… good stuff.

What three words will guide your business this year?

Photo credit: 24oranges


Learn from Smart Marketers this Follow Friday

Networking, Twitter

Learn from Smart Marketers this Follow Friday

6 Comments 13 August 2010

Who to Follow Friday on TwitterToday is Friday, which means that on Twitter it’s a #FollowFriday or #FF as some folks have started hashtagging it. If you aren’t familiar with Follow Friday, read this post on Mashable for the details.

This Friday, I want to share a few folks with you who I think of as “Smart Marketers” – but who are actively teaching and sharing with the rest of us how to do it better. Some of these folks are expected follows if you’re in our industry, but this week I’ve run into several people who had never even HEARD of some of these folks – which means it’s time to review my short list of very smart people for you…

Here’s who I recommend you follow this #FollowFriday… and here’s the why on all of them: they share their own stuff that they write which is always really valuable AND they share lots of other stuff that is valuable. They are a wide open fire hydrant of valuable marketing information that will make you think – and hopefully ACT revolutionary! Yes, it applies to local business. Yes, it applies to small business. Be revolutionary and pay attention to what these folks are saying:

(In no particular order, of course.)

Chris Brogan@chrisbrogan + @broganmedia – I knew he was a great guy, but last week we connected over this post about the great things happening in Michigan because he had been there and seen it, too. A family-loving guy who is smart, human and positive. (Plus, I think he’s about to unveil some things through his new venture, Human Business Works, that will be valuable for small businesses. Keep an eye on that.)

Jason Falls@jasonfalls – We hung out with Jason last fall at a conference where we both presented, and he has proven to be accessible and just plain smart. I like the way his brain operates, his angst with impracticality and his passion for practical solutions that move the bottom line needle. He’s a roll-up-your-sleeves and make things happen kinda guy.

Becky McCray@beckymccray – Becky is someone who I want to be friends with off-line, but who has encouraged me along the way on-line. She’s also a farm-girl who shares my passion for rural communities, community development in general, small business and cultural tourism (among other things). One day soon I hope to give her a hug in person.

Sheila Scarborough – @sheilas – I follow Sheila because she works on Tourism Currents with Becky McCray. And I figure if she’s good enough for Becky, she’s good enough for me. So far, so good. Great stuff especially when it comes to tourism, CVB’s and ideas for the smallish versions of the same among us.

Seth Godin’s blog posts – @sethsblog – A must read. Twitter feed is a good way to not forget to pay attention to Seth. He’s the master and shouldn’t be ignored.

Ann Handley – @marketingprofs – Funny. Pithy. Thoughtful. Exceptionally smart and forward thinking yet immensely practical. She shares great stuff. Best of all, very well respected in her field.

Darren Rowse – @problogger – Owner of ProBlogger and the very helpful Digital Photography School. Constant stream of valuble information that you can use.

Brian Clark – @copyblogger – Founder of Copyblogger and also a fire hose of exceptionally valuable information. As a journalism student who was always accused by teachers of writing with an agenda in mind, I appreciate this guy a lot. And I am humbled at how much I still have to learn. I can’t keep up with these folks, but I soak it up and try.

Sonia Simone – @soniasimone (also of Copyblogger fame) – Love to watch her interact. Shares good stuff. See above comments about quality of content.

Robert Scoble – @scobleizer – a very, very smart guy who now works at our server company, Rackspace. Rackspace has the best customer support and uptime in the business with one of the smartest guys as a voice.

Chris Penn – @cspenn – Genius when it comes to customer service and building human relationships. I love the format of his e-mail newsletter. He works for @blueskyfactory with new daddy @djwaldow who I also really like to chat with and learn from.

Justin Levy – @justinlevy – a very accessible guy who is smart about all things Facebook marketing (and much, much more) over at New Marketing Labs (of which Chris Brogan is president). Also a restaurateur.

Ike Pigott – @ikepigott – a smart and funny fellow working for a power company in Birmingham. He lives in the South so points for that, but he’s also insanely smart (and I think that despite the fact that he hasn’t publicly outed @eatbhm yet). His profile sums it up: “I make complex things simpler.” There’s not enough of that in the world.

Michael Hyatt – @MichaelHyatt – CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and a really smart networker and authentic person. I massively enjoy watching his stream and connecting with he and his company. He shares smart stuff, and I wonder how he gets it all done.

Peter Shankman – @petershankman – founder of the Help a Reporter out service and a funny guy to follow. Worth connecting with. Just ask my friend, Grace Bateman (@perupaper).

Who do you follow on this Follow Friday? I’d love you to follow me, too, @resultsrev. I love to learn and love to share.


Michigan: Home of Pure Passion

Blogging, Facebook, For Main Street or Downtown Programs, Getting Results, Hotel Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Main Street, New Media, Non Profit Marketing, Restaurant Marketing, Small Business, Small Business Marketing, Social Media, Twitter, Video and YouTube

Michigan: Home of Pure Passion

9 Comments 05 August 2010

This "Welcome Michigan Main Street" greeting on the Doherty Hotel sign welcomed our team to Clare, Michigan.

The Doherty Hotel - a historic, independently owned hotel in Clare, Michigan with a catering department that actually cooks yummy food and truly caters to the specific needs of their conference customers.

I was delighted to wake up today to find Chris Brogan’s new post on Detroit in my RSS reader. From where I’m sitting, I don’t think enough ‘atta boys’ can be sent Michigan’s way. Despite all the publicity scars they’ve endured from national media, national politicians and even their neighbor Canada, Michigan’s passionate citizens have persevered and are under the radar turning lemons into lemonade at a mind-numbing rate.

This small business taco shop in Almont, Michigan welcomed Team HALO for a development seminar.

A local taco joint in Almont City, Michigan – a really small town where more than 100 folks came out to learn how to do small business better. That’s passion to succeed.

Two years ago next month, I had the privilege to keynote the Michigan Downtown Conference. Since then, I’ve had the privilege of visiting community after community and meeting business owner after business owner and to work with state and development agencies across the state – and all the time, I was learning firsthand what passion and perseverance really looks like. In Michigan, more than any other place we’ve worked, they “get” social media, and they’re using the power of human relationships to change their world and transform their image from the inside out.

If your small business is in a rut – just look to the passionate folks in Michigan for some inspiration. Is your local community or state in need of a boost of energy or even a complete image overhaul? Connect with some passionate folks in Michigan – they’ll show you how it’s done.

Need some places to start?

My first recommendation and go to person in general is my friend Joe Borgstrom (@JoeBorgstrom), a guy that didn’t wait for permission and created enormous buzz that reaped big dividends for Michigan’s downtowns among media, politicians and local shoppers alike by personally taking Michigan’s Main Street initiative into the social media world – and keeping it human and real every step of the way. He’s the guy that made the “OPEN” video happen – a video that went viral all over the U.S. last year, and he’s the commander of the simply brilliant Pure Michigan Living initiative. You should also know his wife, Kirsten, because now her PR genius unveiled at Travel Michigan is now available to the world (Congrats, Kirsten, on being another cool Michigan entrepreneur!).

Catching Fireflies in Rochester Michigan is small business full of marketing savvy and creative curb appeal.

Catching Fireflies is in a rehabbed train depot in downtown Rochester, Michigan.

Check out the passion at Getz’s (@getzs, Getz on Facebook) – the third largest Carhartt dealer in the nation – at home in an old building in downtown Marquette, Michigan – and running what can only be described as a Santa’s workshop on the top floor.

I’m also in love with Sandy at the Howell’s Mainstreet Winery (Howell’s Mainstreet Winery on Facebook) – where a great couple, both former auto industry folks, combined some passion with savings to start a wildly successful micro-winery, classes, and wine shop in a great downtown building in Howell, Michigan.

April at Catching Fireflies (@whimsicalgifts, Catching Fireflies on Facebook) in downtown Rochester, Michigan also has a store in Berkeley – and a fantastic wholesale line that is bringing money into the state every time she goes to market to sell. She’s creative and brilliant when it comes to making human connections using Facebook, Twitter, her blog and regular e-mails. I can never resist her passionate offers – or her fun notes stuffed in my packages when they arrive.

There’s Motorless Motion (Motorless Motion on Facebook, @motorlessmotion on Twitter), a little bicycle shop in Mt. Pleasant that loves people and educating customers – and now they can do it on Twitter and Facebook and reach the world with their information – and sell bike parts that way, too. There are the local cops who bought the floundering donut shop in downtown Clare, renamed it Cops & Donuts (Cops & Donuts on Facebook) – and made the national news in the process.

Starring, an innovative art gallery in downtown Northville, Michigan is an example of growth in Michigan.

Marianna with the owner of Starring, a brilliant art gallery experience started by a former automotive exec.

And there are dozens and dozens more stories just like these – where pure passion is sprouting “green” for folks in Michigan.

Watch out world.

Michigan’s identity is transforming from the inside out. After spending some time there, I want to be more like those folks. Hardworking, passionate, friendly, helpful people they are…

How about you?


Blogging, Getting Results, Main Street, Main Street & Small Business Web Sites, Measuring Marketing, Small Business and Google, Social Media, Web Sites

Is Your Web Site Your Home Base?

No Comments 05 May 2010

This week, I spoke to a lot of downtown redevelopment types at the National Main Streets Conference in Oklahoma City. We talked about how to tell your story in this modern world (whether community, business district or small business). Social media plays a big part in that. But it’s not the central element…

In my presentation, I pointed out that to tell your story well, you must play by four basic rules. Without repeating my speech here, I do want to share the first rule and most important rule with you, because strategically, everything else will crumble if this rule isn’t followed:

Rule #1: You Must Have a Strong Home Base for Your Business or Community

That home base should most likely be your web site. In nearly all marketing models, it works for the web site to be the epicenter of the marketing universe. (It doesn’t HAVE to be that way, and I’m more than open to creative thinking on this subject depending on goals and budgets. But in most cases, it works for it to be the web site.)

Is your web site working as the epicenter? Are all roads leading back to your domain name…to your web site?

How can you make your HOMEBASE stronger?

1. Make sure it’s easy and quick to update. If you can’t update your own web site, you’ve got a big problem in today’s fast paced world. We love the WordPress platform because it takes me moments to make major updates to my own web site. It’s as simple as sending an e-mail.

2. If it’s easy to update…are you updating it? Are you adding new and interesting photos, educational content, employee and owner profiles, product and vendor information, demonstration videos and how-to lists… Are you making your web site and interesting and valuable resource for your customers and prospects?

3. Is your domain name appearing everywhere, even if your logo can’t? This includes audio communications (like radio, word of mouth, etc.), store signage (yes, including the front door and front window of your store), shopping bags (you never can tell where those bags will go), t-shirts, postcards, advertisements of every sort and at every opportunity.

4. Are you actively seeking to create traffic TO your web site through interesting posts on social media, links from vendor or organizational web sites, etc.? Remember that valuable content you created? Now it’s time to tell folks about it through Facebook wall posts, encouraging folks to share that information on Facebook, Facebook advertising, Twitter posts, LinkedIn posts, e-mail marketing and many more new media traffic drivers.

5. How does your site appear on search engine results? Does it even appear at all? Keep an eye on this, and ask your web guy for help if necessary.

6. Do you have Google Analytics and other robust web site analytics packages installed on your web site that are set to send you daily or weekly reports? Are those reports summarizing how much web traffic you are getting and from where (both geographically and by keyword topics)? Do you know who and why your customers are visiting your web site (keywords, inbound links, etc.)? Are they finding what they’re looking for – and so much more (bounce rate, number of actions per visit, time per visit). You might be surprised at what you learn, but you certainly need to know. And you need to correct course with the web site if it’s not delivering the desired results.

P.S. Interestingly enough, on my trip home, I was catching up on some reading and found that Chris Brogan had an interesting post on this same subject. His post has cool screen shots demonstrating how confusing it can be to customers if you do NOT have a strong home base. I hope you’ll enjoy his post as well.

Also, if you’re also just home from the National Main Streets Conference, you might enjoy our conference wrap-up of conference tweeters to follow and other good resources.

What say you? What results is your home base providing for your business?


For Main Street or Downtown Programs, Professional Service, Restaurant & Food Service, Retail, Wholesale Products

No King Ever Ordered a Revolution

No Comments 29 October 2009

VivaLaRevolutionI’m a nerd. It’s official.

Here’s the proof: Just picture me. Sitting in paradise this past weekend: Key Largo to be specific. Reclining oceanside in the privacy of a mangrove tree dappled beach. My toes are nestled into the rocky sand and the clear water is gently swooshing in over my feet. I can see the coral below the surface a few feet away and see folks snorkeling off shore in the distance. I’ve got my beach read in hand… Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.

(That’s the nerdy part.)

We’re writing a book – Andy and I. The book leans heavily on the analogy of teaching a child to ride a bike to communicate the process of “learning” how to assimilate to the social media/new media world. At one point in his book, Chris used my analogy. He stole it. I’m sure he’s stalking me. I gasped and almost dropped the book in the water. But it was too good, so I didn’t. (And no, I really don’t think he stole it or is stalking me. But I think he’s REALLY smart. *wink*)

So, after another hour or so, I finished the book. I know it’s really bad form to give away the ending of a book, but hey, who am I to do things the way they’ve always been done, so here I go (sorry, Chris). Last three sentences of his book:

“Try something new today. It may just REVOLUTIONIZE what you do. Trust us.”

Did you see that? Again, I almost dropped the book. But since I had read all the way to the end, I had filled the margins with notes, my own ideas and analogies – and lots of underlining, stars and arrows…I really didn’t want to feed my notes to the sharks. So, I held on to it. I mean, WE are HOME of the Results Revolution. (I’ve had the domain name for a long time – like more than 6 years a long time: resultsrevolution.com – being reworked right now for a cool 2010 project.) Brogan stole my word! (Again, spoken in jest.) I’ve been giving the Webster’s definition slowly and carefully in speeches for more than nine years. I sign my e-mail newsletter with two words: “Be Revolutionary.” But I’ve also been raising babies and running carpool lines and generally doing this life thing at a pretty hectic pace the last few years. That is very good work – the best work in fact. But maybe now it’s time to finish that book, to really demonstrate “revolutionary.” That’s part of what this weekend in paradise was all about. Refocusing, rejuvenating, writing, learning, listening and thinking – about nothing in particular – just letting the creative juices flow with no pressure induced. I’m so fired up.

(In case you missed it, Webster’s says that a “revolution” is “a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving.” It’s really a revolutionary definition all by itself, if you stop long enough to unpack it.)

So, today, I’m plugging back in and reading some past Brogan e-mail newsletters and ran across one titled the same as this post: “No King Ever Ordered a Revolution.” Made me stop and think over this revolution thing one more time.

How about you? Are you willing to take on the status quo, to be the leader that sticks his neck out for the sake of the cause – even when the cause doesn’t think it’s the right move? Are you the lone voice in the wilderness thinking that social tools and networks might just give your business a chance to connect in a whole new way – even survive? What would a revolution look like if it happened in your business? Isn’t it time you pursued your own personal or professional revolution? No one but you can order it. It’s you against the world – go do big things, different things, far-reaching things.

I’d love to talk about what that means for you. What say you?

P.S. If you haven’t read it, it’s a good read. And if you don’t, follow @chrisbrogan. He’s smart, keeps it all real, and you will benefit from him and his network.

Photo Credit: chris.corwin


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About Marianna Chapman

For the past 15 years, Marianna Chapman has been creating game-changing big ideas resulting in big returns for dozens of businesses and communities across the U.S.

Today, Marianna and her team help business and non-profit clients at Big Idea Company, Inc., writes the Results Revolution blog, serves as Executive Editor for Eat Cities, LLC media outlets, and is a frequent speaker to national and regional conferences.

Marianna is a professional problem solver and rainmaker for hire.

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