Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

The Let it “B” Girl Clarinetist

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Music, The Idea on October 29, 2009 at 6:53 am

I just LOVE this You tube video featuring one of my clarinet customers, Christy Banks. I just LOVE her informal commentary– it makes the video– and makes me not only want to listen to HER but learn MORE about classical music because of her delivery.

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Speaking Coaches help entrepreneurs get their message across

In Author: Barbara Kite, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, The Entrepreneurial Artist Competition on October 15, 2009 at 6:06 am

SPEAKING COACHES HELP ENTREPRENEURS GET THEIR MESSAGE ACROSS –

BUSINESS – INTERNATIONAL

HERALD TRIBUNE 

By Hillary Chura
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007

NEW YORK — Whether to appear more confident, better organized or to stop the “ums,” entrepreneurs are realizing good voice and presentation skills can help them come into their own and even compete against larger competitors with big marketing budgets.

Michael Sipe, president of Private Equities, a small mergers and acquisition advisory firm in San Jose, California, worked with a presentation coach who helped him differentiate his business from competitors.

“If a customer can’t determine who is any better or different or worse, then they are left with a conversation about price. And as a business owner, if you’re only in a price conversation, that’s a losing conversation,” Sipe said. “It is really important to paint a picture of why someone should do business with them in a very compelling way.”

Even though business owners may be experts in their fields, that does not automatically translate into being able to market themselves verbally. Many agree that speaking concisely — and in a compelling way — lends credibility. While poor communication skills are not necessarily deadly, they can make it more challenging to win over potential investors, prospective clients, employees and business partners.

“Small business is leaving money on the table because it is overlooking one of the most powerful marketing skills: speech,” said Diane DiResta, a speech and communications coach in New York. “Speech is the way a small business builds its brand, establishes expertise, gets free publicity and gets in front of its market.”

R.W. Armstrong & Associates, a civil engineering project management company in Indianapolis, first hired a speaker trainer two years ago to help prepare it for a pitch worth millions of dollars. The company went in as the underdog but clinched the deal after working on timing, learning how to use descriptive words, introduce co-workers and present itself with poise and cohesion, said Donna Gadient, director for human resources. She said the company paid about $8,000 to $10,000 for a day of training for 25 people.

Tom Cole, a general partner at Trinity Ventures, a Menlo Park, California, venture capital firm, said good communicators had an easier time captivating investors with their verbal and nonverbal skills than do those with less polish.

“Some entrepreneurs are such poor communicators that they never get past the first meeting with us,” Cole said. “A good entrepreneur can give you a 30- second elevator pitch that describes his or her business. Sadly, many fail to do that in the course of an hour’s meeting.”

Coaches, who may charge $100 an hour for one-on-one guidance to more than $10,000 a day for groups, work with clients on content and delivery, tone, organization, diction, timing, how to enter a presentation confidently and refining a message around essential words. They draw attention to flaws like blitzing through presentations as well as rising inflections that make every statement sound like a question from, like, a Valley Girl. They encourage people to use short sentences, speak in sound bites and pause so listeners can digest what has been said.

A less expensive option is the public speaking organization Toastmasters International, where members critique one another’s presentations.

Being a good presenter is more of an acquired skill than a gift you’re born with, enthusiasts say. Techniques that work with a large audience are also effective one-on-one. Patricia Fripp, a sales presentation skills trainer based in San Francisco, said that connecting on an emotional level with the audience and telling people what they will gain, rather than what you will offer, is important.

Lawrence Dolph, managing partner of RFD Insight, a turnaround specialist and growth consultant in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said that in addition to being concerned with what they know and how they present it, speakers now must be telegenic thanks to videoconferencing.

“It causes you to be assessed as if you were a television actor,” Dolph said. “You need to have good body control so you don’t look like a stiff. And a lot of that requires coaching. Unless you have been brought through some sort of actual course, you are probably not aware of your body or speech patterns.”

David Freeman, director for client development at the San Francisco asset management company Ashfield, sought help to hone his firm’s message to pension funds, financial institutions and wealthy investors. The idea was to stop presenters from rambling and have them deliver only pertinent information.

“We may fly across the country to present for 45 minutes to a pension fund or consulting firm that can be worth $25 million, $50 million or $100 million in the amount of money we are being given to manage,” Freeman said. “You want to increase the probability that you are going to be remembered.”

When Rebeca Mojica, a Chicago jewelry designer, started her jewelry design business in Chicago three years ago, she found herself being taken advantage of by clients who did not respect her time or wanted free private lessons or discounts. For several months in 2004 and 2005, she hired a coach to help her take control of conversations. She said she learned to be matter of fact in dealing with unpleasant situations and even got tips on how to sit when talking on the phone, with feet planted on the ground and torso leaning slightly forward.

She said coaching taught her how to handle potentially uncomfortable situations, cut down on wasted time and reduce misunderstandings.

“I tended to be a people pleaser. I’m a very nice person, which is great for some aspects of customer service but not good for others,” Mojica said. “When you want results, you need to take conversations seriously.”

Sharon McRill, founder of Betty Brigade, a concierge company in Ann Arbor, hired a coach, Eleni Kelakos, after agreeing to deliver a Chamber of Commerce breakfast speech in 2005. McRill said that while she was comfortable one- on-one, she felt sick addressing a group. After learning breathing and relaxation techniques, her confidence rose.

“I needed to be comfortable speaking to 300 business leaders — leaders who I don’t normally get to speak to — so it was important to come across as competent and smooth,” said McRill, who paid $750 for the insight. “If you can make an impression by speaking in front of a group or by meeting someone at a networking event that helps you be remembered, then it’s going to continue to pay you back later.”

see my Great Speakers and Acting Blog – www.bmkite.wordpress.com for more in depth information regarding speaking using acting skills to help in your presentations.

The Artist-Blogger: Finding Your Niche

In Author: David Cutler, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing on October 10, 2009 at 11:56 pm

blog2

Of course! You don’t have time to blog.  You don’t even have enough time to breathe, with all your practicing, art making, career promotion, life responsibilities, and the occasional social engagement.  If there’s one thing you simply can’t squeeze into the schedule, it’s maintaining a blog! Don’t be ridiculous.

That’s what I used to think as well.  Yet this week, as I unveiled a new and improved blog for my site THE SAVVY MUSICIAN  (and with it, a commitment to keep up the posts), an important realization struck me—blogging is one of the most effective ways to build credibility, loyalty, and an international fan base.  If you are an entrepreneurial artist hoping to increase your success and opportunities, a killer blog may prove to be one of the most important and cost effective marketing tools at your disposal.

As was argued in The Savvy Musician, without web presence, you don’t exist. You’re invisible, at least in the eyes of most of the world. And while a well constructed but static website can do a lot to advance your cause, a relevant and up-to-date blog shows that you are active, productive, and a reliable source of information. The best blogs give viewers a reason to visit your website on a regular basis, and attract new visitors because of the valuable content. Better yet, a great blog will establish you as a leading and active voice in your field. As a result, you will probably get more gigs, media attention, invitations to speak publically on your topic, and a host of additional opportunities.

Now, the act of simply having a blog won’t necessarily help you.  Thousands upon thousands of bloggers spend obscene amounts of time writing articles that are viewed by almost no one. For success, it is imperative to find a topic that resonates with readers:

  1. No blogger diaries!  Far too many blogs are simply recaps of people’s lives. But here’s the problem—nobody cares (except perhaps family members and close friends)!  So you heard a great performance of Mahler, or your stand partner had cheese stuck between her teeth during rehearsal…snooze.  People are much more concerned with themselves.  Unless your existence is extraordinarily interesting, reject this approach or count on a miniscule readership. Be careful of overusing the word “I.”
  2. Focus on your reader. A far better approach is to write about your readers. What do they care about? What are their concerns? Embrace the word “you,” and choose topics interesting to them.
  3. Be Different. Find a blogging topic or angle that isn’t oversaturated with competition.  For example, there are already great blogs dealing specifically with some instruments. But others have almost no quality sites, and that represents a huge opportunity for some savvy musicians in the near future.  (Maybe you?) If there are already good sources available that deal with your general area of interest, find a specific angle that distinguishes your work.
  4. Find your niche. In my post The Best in the World, it was argued that savvy musicians should discover the one thing they can do better than anyone else in the world. A blog is the perfect platform for establishing yourself as a leading expert in a specific area.
  5. Stick with it. Once you have an angle, don’t deviate too far from it. Readers expect consistency. If your focus is instrument repair, a post on that great concert you attended last night may appear irrelevant and confusing.
  6. Solve problems. The most widely read blogs often solve problems for their audience. For example, musician bloggers could focus on how to throw a better wedding reception, how to practice more effectively, how to address the psychological stresses of being a musician, etc.
  7. Provide resources. Blogs that offer helpful resources—from links to manuscript paper to fonts to practicing exercises –will be visited again and again.    
  8. Influence taste. Thanks largely to the Internet, there are millions of products, experiences, and messages competing for attention.  Ironically, in a time when everybody has access to just about everything, digging through the clutter can be a nightmare.  Bloggers who point people towards the good stuff (great recordings, great concerts to check out, great woodwind quintets, etc.) provide a valuable service to both consumers and vendors. Rather than being comprehensive, focus on highlighting quality gems.

The Savvy Musician Resource Center maintains a library of fantastic blogs that we feel are helpful to musicians.  To view our blogroll, click here.  Please contact us if you’d like to propose an invaluable site that follows the guidelines above and should be added to our collection.

 

Love music, but hate to starve? Hoping to achieve more success with your musical career? Visit www.SavvyMusician.com for a Resource Center with 1000+links, valuable articles, information about the most important music career book in print, and more.

Meet me in the land mine field…

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone on September 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

dreamstime_3947474Are you ready to learn how to dance your way through a land mine field for your best entrepreneurial idea? Or perhaps you need a better one to be willing to try….

Remember my friends from my post An Entrepreneurial Lesson and a Little Bit of Magic? Well, they seem to have fox trotted right past more than a few explosives. They have managed to find new space at a price they can finally afford, allowing their business to survive, but not with the landlord I referred to in the post. Of course many weeks of negotiation and uncertainty had to pass to bring them to this point.. and I am sure a few sleepless nights as well wondering if they would get through this…

Remember those 200 film editors I told you about in my post 200 Resumes, $1200.00 dollars? Well, I have received a total of 373 resumes from out-of- work or under employed freelance film editors wondering how they too can get through this period of time and make the bucks they need to survive.

Entrepreneurship is NOT for the faint of heart. You need an original idea or a new twist on an old one to stand out from the crowd in your field. This alone can seems difficult to find, as evident by 373 film editors in Chicago alone- and counting- looking for work.

And yet having entrepreneurial vision does NOT mean your entrepreneurial idea will work smoothly, quickly or be easy to scale, let alone survive, no matter how good and valuable it is– as my entrepreneurial friends from the first post I mentioned demonstrate.

Having vision ONLY means you see a unique path that you feel will have value to others and are inspired to try and turn into reality. The REAL HEAVY lifting comes from actually beginning to navigate your way THROUGH the obstacle filled field in front of you to turn your vision into a valuable resource for others and, as such, an income producing path. (Let the rumba begin!)

So, how long does it take to do this? And how difficult is it, really? ( Funny you should ask. It seems I have been in need of reminding myself of the answer to this very same question lately.)

It all depends on:

How much time you spend daily focusing on what you uniquely have to deliver and who will want it.

Your sense of urgency to generate income.

Your willingness to actively interact and learn from every interaction with potential customers until you identify how to explain and deliver your goods or services to your audience and profit.

Your willingness to fail with skill and grace, but openly and publicly, until you get it right.

Having a source of income to be able to keep at it until things click in place.

Your willingness to accept that a good idea is not enough… you need self confidence, tenacity and to figure out exactly how to market the hell out of your ideas without running out of cash until they resonate with others.

None of these skills, in my opinion, are any harder than learning how to excel at your artistry. They just are riddled with different problems, new challenges and a few explosives. What in life isn’t….

Free Sales and Marketing Class- Chicago- Starts Oct 5th

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Marketing, Writing on September 7, 2009 at 12:32 am

Are you a visual artist? Do you paint? Knit clothing? Make greeting cards or jewelry? Would you like to turn your passion into profit but need help?

Flourish Studio’s located at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue, is accepting new products for their retail floor. Gain exposure and credibility for your artistry in this top notch retail and art gallery. All artists approved for Flourish’s Artisian Program will be eligible for a FREE 8 week sales and marketing class offered by Lisa Canning.

Topics will include: How to price your product, create your identity to the public, as well as develop selling and marketing techniques to build demand for your product profitably.

All artists accepted into the program require 5 hours weekly of unpaid retail floor time and a 50/50 revenue split. Classes start Monday October 5th at 7pm.

For more information email me at Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com or call 847.774.2938. This is a great opportunity to gain support for your ideas and begin your business in a first class location and neighborhood in Chicago.
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The Grass is Always Greener (for making green)

In Author: Melissa Snoza, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Interesting Articles, Legal, Marketing, Money on September 5, 2009 at 9:21 pm

First, a big thanks to fellow ETA blogger David Cutler for featuring Fifth House Ensemble in his new book, the Savvy Musician, advance copies of which are available on his website prior to the full release in November. If you’ve been reading his posts, you know that David brings an incredible energy to the concept of being a working, entrepreneurial musician, and his book is sure to be a great resource all of us who are working to create new opportunities in the field.

In an article published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, David’s mention of 5HE’s dual business model was mentioned. When we formed in 2005, we created both a 501(c)3 nonprofit (Fifth House Ensemble) and an LLC for our private events business (Amarante Ensembles, LLC). Same folks, different purpose.

As a young group, we knew we wanted to provide a wide variety of services, including those that would serve the public good (performances, educational programs), as well as those that would help to keep us fed (weddings, private events). We formed both businesses at the same time in order to be able to keep these activities separate financially, and in order to be able to market them in completely different ways.

Since the article was published, I’ve been getting many inquiries from arts organizations both established and emerging about how and why we did this, wondering if the same model would work for them. Interestingly, in most cases the concern is less about the types of services being provided and the best business structure to manage them, and more about how to raise the most money in the shortest amount of time. Inevitably, those who began as a for-profit think that they will raise more from donated funds as a non-profit, and vice-versa.

My first question is always, “why do you want to do this?” A business structure is about the most effective way to manage the types of services you want to offer, so you have to consider what is a good fit for your goals, not just your bank statement.

If you are a performing arts organization that is committed to work in the public schools and bringing performances to underserved audiences, changing from not-for-profit to an LLC will not help you raise funds from venture capitalists, unless something changes about the services you offer. What will you tell them about their return on investment? And do the people you are serving have the resources to pay big bucks for what you do?

Conversely, if you are a for-profit company that has been successful selling tickets to shows, merchandise, and DVDs, and you are attracted to the extra money you think you will bring in as a non-profit but loathe paperwork, is switching to 501(c)3 status really a good fit? Given that you don’t want to be the one to do grantwriting, annual reporting, financial management worthy of public scrutiny, board agendas, and all of the other tasks that go into managing a nonprofit, you may end up paying staff a large part of the added revenue you would see from changing structures.

The only real reason to have a split structure (in my opinion) is if you have services that are distinctly different enough to warrant that. If there is overlap, not only is the purpose for your choice not clear, but you also risk running afoul of the IRS. I remember fondly the conversation I had with Mr. Botkins, the IRS agent who reviewed our 501(c)3 application, about how we had created these two entities for the sole PURPOSE of keeping for- and non-profit activities separate. The IRS doesn’t like seeing for- and non-profit organizations to be connected in any way, via common control (similar officers/managers), contracts, or other financial arrangements.

Know yourself, the type of work you want to do, your tolerance for paperwork, and the types of people you want to serve. Be realistic about how much you have the potential to earn or raise. If the structure you are considering isn’t a good fit for your services, don’t be tempted to follow what you perceive to be the greener pasture, or you may certainly find yourself out in the cold. The best way to get more green is to make sure that what you do is serving the people around you in the best possible way, which will inspire customers to pay for your work, or donors to support its creation.

Melissa is the flutist and Executive Director of the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble. Like what you read here? For more music entrepreneurship tidbits, visit www.playingclosetothebridge.wordpress.com, brought to you by members of 5HE.

7 Ways Potters Can Use Blogs

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Money, Networking, WEBSITES & BLOGS on August 28, 2009 at 5:59 am

Musicians? Artists? Dancers? Actors? Film Makers? This post, 7 Ways Potters Can Use Blogs, that appeared today on Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, will FILL YOU UP with ideas!potters

Thank you Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship GCCE for adding us as a link to your blog! What a terrific resource GCCE is for ETA readership.

200 Resumes, $1200 dollars

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Theater/Film on August 22, 2009 at 8:25 pm

For those of you who might remember, back last March, with the help of a number of supportive individuals and their businesses, a set was designed to interview and video tape artistic entrepreneurs for the new ETA website.

Since then, much to my dismay, there was a breakdown in communication between the video editor who agreed to do the editing for admittedly very low pay and myself. As everyone else on this project had donated their time, but in recognition of the fact that the editing is the most time consuming, I was offering the editor free press at the beginning of each interview, and $200.00 an edit.

So of course, as you can image, the main issue that surfaced between us was that individual changed their mind about the amount of money they would accept for editing each interview. I could not pay enough for this individual and so while we parted ways, I also became overwhelmed working on the ETA website and put the project on pause.

Well, needless to say, it’s is time to get this project up and running. So, just the other day I finished transcribing the first interview, edited it down into its essential ingredients for viewers, and then ran an ad in a local paper in search of an editor.

Here is what my ad said:

NEEDED: Someone overqualified, affordable and available to edit six interviews for $150-200 an interview for a website series on arts entrepreneurship. The footage is about an hour’s worth and we need it edited into 20 minute interviews. Speed, good communication skills and a willingness to do good work matter- All for low pay! But help us anyway because you believe in our mission. Blog.EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Your name and contact info can appear at the beginning and end of each video. We have over 1000 readers daily and growing…

Three minutes after I payed my $25.00 to post the ad, and hit send, I had 4 replies. In the next hour I had 25. Within 8 hours I have had over 200 responses! And..gulp.. it has only been 24 hours. I fear how many more I am going to get.

But, so far over 200 individuals with film editing experience, in the Chicago market alone, or near vicinity, are willing to edit 6 interviews for $200.00 apiece.

Yikes!

I consider this REALLY low pay! These videos can take 15 to 20 hours each, EASILY to make look great.

While I wish, for the sake of these artists, I could pay more, I can’t. Nor does it make sense to when the market will bear my price– easily.

What has been really interesting about this experience is my ad clearly stated to the reader I was looking for someone who believed in what we were trying to accomplish. Of the 200 who replied not a single one directly said- “I get it. I understand what you are trying to accomplish and here is why I can help you better than anyone else.” A few hinted at it- but no one out right came out and said it.

So, in essence, not a single one of the responses I received really stood out. Most of them did not even have or offer a film reel, and those who did often had dead links to them or a security password on it that they did not share. Others wrote the email to ” Whom it May Concern,” when finding my first name would have taken about a minute, and others did not even write in full sentences or wrote a novel instead of a clear 5-7 sentences about who they were and why I should hire them.

If you don’t know it by now, let me remind you:

People don’t have time to read! The average person spends 96 seconds on a blog reading and even less when reading a resume. People will, however, keep reading if you have captured their interest.

You have to capture someone’s attention quickly in a cover letter of introduction– the first sentence. Then they will read the second and the third. And by the fifth they better be ready to pick up the phone or hit send and reply. This is especially true for me– having to open 200 email responses for a job that pay $1200.00!

I did, however, get some EXTRAORDINARILY QUALIFIED responses. But considering 73 of them were technically qualified (they had the gear and editing skills required for the job), I find it pretty interesting that only 4 were worth my time. Those 4 had clear professional writing, used my first name, and offered compelling reasons why they could do the job. One even figured out I was located in close proximity. Of course these individuals are the one’s I am most interested in.

Of the 200 responses, 103 were unemployed recent graduates from film schools, 73 have been working freelance and are out of work, 12 owned businesses that were established, and the remainder had related experience to film, but not directly as an editor.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see a long line, for anything, my first thought is ” There must be another way around it.” I usually find a way around it too because of my entrepreneurial training and experience.

What about you?

The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship- Opening Fall 2010!

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

InstArtsEntrep_BoldIn the fall of 2010 The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will open at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

As an independent but collaborative effort with Jim Hart’s Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, IAE will be devoted to the development of the artist as entrepreneur.

Lead by my vision and passion, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will be seeking applicants from any artistic discipline. Requirements for enrollment will be a minimum of a 4 year degree–a bachelors degree– in an artistic discipline. The program will be a two year program that is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. It will begin as a school in the fall of 2010 with full accreditation. Auditions will begin February/March of 2010 for all interested applicants.

For more information about enrollment or if you are interested in partnering with either Jim Hart or myself, in some way, please email me. Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Music Entrepreneurship Helps Young Musicians Chart Careers in a Crowded Market

In Author: Lisa Canning, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Risk, The Idea on August 12, 2009 at 2:00 am

This article is about ETA blogger David Cutler and his new book, The Savvy Musician. It was written by Andrew Druckenbrod and ran in in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sunday August 9th, 2009. The picture was illustrated by Stacy Innerst/Post-Gazette. I highly recommend David’s book if you want to learn how to become a “savvy musician!”

20090809musicianmoney_si_160Overpopulation, poverty and stagnation: The way the classical music industry is described these days you’d think it’s a Third World country. The recession has made an already tough existence even tougher for music students and those already looking for jobs.

“It is an extraordinarily difficult time to compete for traditional full-time jobs, like those in academia and in orchestras,” says David Cutler, a music professor at Duquesne University. “The market is over-saturated with talent, people are keeping their jobs for longer and orchestras are cutting back, not adding.”

But have things really gotten so bad that a student should follow that classic parental advice and go to medical or law school instead?

Not according to a new movement called music entrepreneurship that is gaining ground at schools around the country. Cutler is among several professors at the forefront of this change in attitude; his book, “The Savvy Musician” (Helius Press, $19.99, due out in November) is a guide to navigating these uncertain waters, targeted to those facing the “real world.”

More information about “The Savvy Musician”
• Advance copies of “The Savvy Musician,” to be released widely in November, can be purchased at http://www.savvymusician.com.
• Have you ventured off the beaten path for your musical career? If so, we would like to hear about it. Go to ClassicalMusings to share your story.
Among the topics, the book discusses details of marketing, recording and grant writing, but it spends most of its time articulating bigger concepts of the “entrepreneurial mind-set.”

For years, conventional wisdom has been that leadership in the classical music industry should work to increase demand so that more young musicians can get jobs. Better funding, it is said, should be found to expand orchestras and develop audiences, and music should be cultivated at all levels. But for advocates of entrepreneurship such as Cutler, it is the musician who must adapt to the shrinking and changing marketplace.

“The days of being just a classical violinist or jazz saxophonist are over,” says Cutler. “The musician of the future considers the whole package. You should be a great player, but that is not the goal, but the minimum.”

Many feel that music education in America — slow to change in the past half century — has failed students in this regard. “We have created more extremely talented musicians than ever before,” says Cutler. “But in curriculum, we have completely ignored many other essential issues such as how to make a living or how to make an difference in society.”

Cutler and others see the new environment brimming with possibilities, even as it has shut down or backlogged traditional routes. “It is hard, but there are opportunities that weren’t there before,” he says. “If [your quartet] tries to get a gig at Carnegie Hall, you might be up against 300 quartets, but if you go to a smaller community you can make it work.”

One sterling example is the Ying String Quartet, which began its career in the 1990s as the resident quartet of Jesup, Iowa, a farm town of 2,000 people. It performed in homes, schools, churches and banks, with a philosophy that “concert music can also be a meaningful part of everyday life.”

The Ying Quartet’s off-the-beaten path garnered national interest and forged its musicality as a group so that today the quartet is considered one of the top in the world, playing more typical venues such as Carnegie Hall.

Another alternative route was taken by a group of Chicago musicians who created a split business model. They formed two companies, a nonprofit called Fifth House Ensemble that gives concerts and education and a for-profit called Amarante Ensembles that plays parties and gatherings. Having both puts the musicians on more even financial footing and spreads out risk.

Other examples of innovative thinking abound, from the genre-bending and branding-savvy Kronos Quartet to John Cimino, a baritone who uses music-making as a metaphor for creativity and leadership in presentations to Fortune 500 corporations.

So, the problem isn’t that there is a glut of musicians, Cutler and others argue, but that there are too many seeking traditional jobs without really considering the alternatives. Colleges and conservatories traditionally have not equipped students with the right tools to prosper in a shrinking marketplace.

Gary Beckman, founder of the Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network, realized this deficiency firsthand long before the economy laid it bare for all to see.

“I went through undergrad and grad school, and I saw many musicians who were more than capable, but because they didn’t get training and information about economic reality they didn’t go on to play,” he says. “So many are lost each year.”

Beckman, Cutler and others at schools, such as the University of South Carolina, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Colorado, are on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship programs and courses emerging to train students to forge their own paths.

“We need students that have a broad view about their careers,” says Beckman, who is a visiting professor in South Carolina’s Institute for Leadership and Engagement in Music. He estimates that as many as 100 colleges offer at least one course in arts entrepreneurship. “In the context of 6,000 universities with arts departments, that it isn’t taking [academia] by storm, but steps are being made and the seeds are starting to germinate.”

“Entrepreneurship is gaining traction because it offers something significant to every student considering a career,” says Jeffrey Nytch, director of the University of Colorado’s Entrepreneurship Center for Music. It’s not just about sending musicians to the campus career center, he says, but totally rethinking their career.

“Deans and provosts are behind it,” says Beckman. “Everyone realizes there is a problem, but it is a very delicate negotiation between faculty, accreditation, community, students, funders, administration. About half a dozen colleges add a course every year, and I think there will be a explosion in the next three to five years.”

Duquesne University’s Mary Pappert School of Music will offer its first classes on entrepreneurship and leadership this fall, coordinated by Cutler, who joined the faculty in 2001. Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh do not offer entrepreneurship courses, but both bring in speakers on the subject and address the business of music on a one-on-one manner. “Many people have great ideas, but if you have the skills to make them a reality, then it is a success,” says Noel Zahler, head of CMU’s School of Music.

“We have an ethical responsibility to address these issues,” says Cutler, who also will re-configure Duquesne’s contemporary ensemble to be student-driven to “function like a chamber ensemble would in the real world.”

“This is about empowering students,” says Beck. He thinks Cutler’s book brings that same confidence to those in schools or already struggling to make a living as musicians. “What David has done has helped to outline how broad an education one needs to have a career in music.”

Austin, TX: New Arts Entrepreneurial Finishing School- Opening 2010

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing, Money, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on July 23, 2009 at 12:55 am

When it comes to insisting that all artists becoming more entrepreneurial, James Hart and I are kindred spirits. I cannot agree more with James statement that “We need to teach our students how to have vision. Imagine the cultural implications.”

I met Jim last weekend at Columbia College’s Creative Entrepreneurship Conference. James Hart is living my dream! He and his family just returned to the United States this past year, after founding, building and finally selling a professional finishing school focused on entrepreneurship training for theater students in Norway called TITAN Teaterskole.

The International Theatre Academy Norway (TITAN Teaterskole), is truly one of a kind and its creation was, for Jim, a true labor of love. The school is now in its fifth year of operation and in the very capable hands of Brendan McCall, who left his teaching position in the acting program at the Yale School of Drama masters program to head, run and own TITAN.

Now, with that incredible experience under his belt, Jim plans on opening, in the fall of 2010, in Austin Texas The Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, just like the one he built in Norway. It will be founded in Jim’s educational programming and philosophy which he calls The Hart Technique.

What is the Hart Technique?
The Hart Technique is a two-pronged approach to theatrical training. It is equal part Artistic technique and Entrepreneurship. Artists studying the Hart Technique have a foundation of artistic thinking. They know how to think, as artists. They are sensitive to the impulses that move them and have vast imaginations. They also have a practical viewpoint which stems from market realities. This later viewpoint, which is unique in American theatre training, enables graduates to aide their communities, to be necessary as artists, to fill gaps in community cultural offerings. They are fiercely determined and committed to overcoming career obstacles and know how to both lead and follow. Because of this entrepreneurship skill set, graduates are more able to make a living via their creativity. IMAGINE THAT!!!

The best way to learn about The Hart Technique is to experience it and practice it yourself. Workshops are offered in a wide range of venues–in theatre companies, colleges, universities and privately.

What makes the Hart Technique different from other theatre training?
The majority of theatre training programs in America are offering all arts technique and no business skills. This typical path is usually comprised of a version of the Stanislavski technique and its normal support classes. However, we, as educators, know that this path leads to widespread unemployment. Each reader should ask themselves, if we know that this technique leads to under and unemployment, why is American theatre training still following this standard path? I believe the reason lies in the fact that schools must be marketable. They have found a system that generates student numbers, but not students with a number of jobs.

How is the Hart Technique of service to society?
One of the facets of The Hart Techniques is that students are guided to discover their “voice” or unique perspective or way of expression. Graduates have this unique expression, coupled with entrepreneurial skills. As entrepreneurs, they know how to study their markets and communities and find gaps. They can then fill these gaps, eventually creating niches.

Graduates who know how to create opportunities for themselves, inevitably create opportunities for others. As these entrepreneur artists create original enterprises for profit, they inevitably create jobs.

What skills do graduates of The Hart Technique have?
Graduates have entrepreneurial skills. They have a knowledge of creating and adhering to a budget, how to create a mission statement, how to lead themselves and others, how to market themselves (and generate press as they do), and a wide range of other business related skills. Artistically, they know how to have vision and build that vision into a concrete reality. They are masters of brainstorming and can follow their creative impulses without fear or judgement. They understand text analysis and how to effectively play a role. Not only can they play a role, but they can direct others in the playing of roles. Often times, our graduates direct others in roles they have personally written. In brief, our graduates have the skills to compete for existing work, but have the ability to create their own.

What jobs can a graduate expect to have?
Graduates of The Hart Technique have created artistic companies (theatre and production), have sponsored gallery showings, done standup, acted in and directed films and professional theatre. Many do go on to compete for commercial opportunities of a standard nature. Still more go on to create their own opportunities, profiting as they do.

Is The Hart Technique applicable ONLY for theatre artists?
Absolutely not. The Hart Technique is applicable towards any medium of artistry AND enables artists to hop from one medium to another.

What if I am not interested in starting my own business or being a leader?
None of us knows what five years down the road brings us, much less tomorrow. One constant in life is change. Why limit oneself? Leadership skill enables one to lead oneself in the most effective manner possible (in addition to others). The Hart Technique helps artists develop discipline–the sort of discipline of a marathon runner. That is a skill set that will serve one throughout their life.

Why are more schools NOT offering similar training?
Most theatre training programs in America copy what the big, successful graduate training programs are doing (There is some exception to this, of course). Knowing that this typical system (all arts and no business) leads towards widespread unemployment, one must ask, “is it ethical to continue teaching this typical curriculum”?

In time, more schools will begin to offer such entrepreneurial training in their curriculums, as it is a system that generates employment. American theatre training NEEDS to go in this direction. This sort of training stimulates new voices with perspective. These individuals have the tehcnique to build their ideas and the business technique to make a living.

Some schools believe changing their curriculums to be too risky, if they are generating enough student interest now. However, to those institutions and individuals, I say, “Post your graduate career success record. Make public how successful your curriculums are (or are not).

Curriculums such as The Hart Technique serve students and institutions alike. Graduates have a higher likelihood of working and schools can boast of all of the graduates who work almost immediately out of their programs.

Interested in enrolling in the new school? Questions about the program, tuition, referring a student?
Contact Jim at:jim@harttechnique.com
Phone: 512.410.9335
Fax: 512.380.0155

About Jim Hart
Jim Hart is an award-winning actor, director and producer. His work has been seen in America, Russia, Norway and Taiwan.

As a director, he has directed numerous Tony Award-winning and Hollywood actors, including Marian Seldes, Roger Rees, Dylan Baker, Kerry Butler, and others. He has directed classics of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Marivaux, Gogol, Miller and more, including a large number of world-premiere productions. He is currently directing “The Story of a Mother”, an animated tale, and “On Death and Dying”, a documentary on our culture’s many perspectives on death and dying. He serves as Producer and Artistic Director of Sleeping Hero Productions.

Hart is the founder and former Dean of TITAN Teaterskole (The International Theatre Academy Norway) in Oslo, Norway and former artistic director of TITAN Teatergruppe, a professional theatre company—both of which are located in Oslo, Norway.

As an actor, Hart has performed in a number of venues including Williamstown Theatre Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Dallas Theatre Center, Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, (where he received the Judy Award for his performance of Puck), Theatre Alliance in D.C., and Internationally in St. Petersburg, Russia and Taichung, Taiwan.

Hart is a Fox Fellow, having received a grant to study ritualistic mask dancing in Bali and India. He spent nearly a year in Asia, studying ritualistic theatre in Nepal, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong, and is one of the founders of The World-wide Art Collective, the largest theatre festival in the history of Taiwan.

He served as founder and Artistic Director of the New York-based theatre company Etudes Workshops (2001 to 2003). Etudes explored multi-cultural theatre forms of the Fantastic (focusing on rhythm, physical aesthetics, and masks and puppets). This venue, drawing teachers from a multitude of disciplines and mediums within New York, exposed artists to varied artistic aesthetics and provided ground for new collaborations to occur.

Hart’s teaching credits include The International Theatre Academy Norway, Yale School of Drama (Graduate school), New York University, Yale University (undergraduate program), the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Tufts University, Univ. of Alaska at Anchorage, Fu Ren Univ. in Taipei, Taiwan, Harlem School of the Arts, Capital Hill Arts Workshop in D.C, Classical Theatre of Harlem, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Utah State University, Rowan University, Peridance in NYC, Kirkenaer Ballettskole (Oslo), and others.

Serendipity’s Role in Entrepreneurial Development

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Health & Wellness, Marketing, Networking, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, WEBSITES & BLOGS on June 23, 2009 at 6:46 am

In the last three months I have been working with a new client-Dr. Julia Rahn, the owner of Flourish Studios www.ICanFlourish.com.

Flourish is a self and family development center located at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue here in Chicago. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Julia’s experience lead her to combining art, retail, individual therapy and support groups in one glorious space. While Flourish has many ways it can contribute to helping change lives, its initial offerings to the public are in the areas of parenting, self development and wellness with the sole mission of creating positive change in the lives of all who come in contact with Flourish Studios.

The mission of Flourish Studios is fabulous. Julia’s vision to help others Live. Learn. Love. could not be any stronger. Yet 14 months into her venture her vision had begun to get fuzzy as to where she was headed. Getting any business started, let alone one in the beginning of hard economic times, often can lead you away from your core mission- your “tag line”- the reason you started doing what you are doing and for whom.

This happens because reaching your target market always takes longer than we think and at some point it is easy to begin to take “whatever we can get” instead of holding true to our vision to find who we really need to serve. While Julia had done a better job than most, as evident by the fact that her business was surviving through such rough times, her business seemed to be lethargic and not doing as well as she expected.

Coincidentally, at about the same time Julia was coming to realize this fact, Arianne Votasmeets entered the Entrepreneur The Arts Round I competition. Arianne’s art work was currently being hung in the gallery of Flourish Studio’s when she entered. After reading her entry and learning about Flourish I went to see her exhibit and meet Dr. Julia.

Within the hour I spent at Flourish Studios, Dr. Julia and I hit it off so well she asked me, more or less on the spot, if I would consider working with her and her staff to refocus their efforts and realign her vision to help her business continue to grow through this tough economy. How could I resist such a wonderful opportunity. And so my work with Flourish Studios began.

For the past three months I have been going to Flourish at least once a week and working individually with Dr. Julia and her three full time employees. Each one of her staff needed focus and clarity as to how to better do their jobs selling and marketing the service Flourish offers. In the time I have been there we have shifted the focus of Flourish to hosting ONLY events that fulfill their mission to Live, Learn and Love, Increased Vendor participation in their mission by asking vendors to sponsor workshops for their buyers, retail stores or do training at Flourish, developed group programming in the initial three areas of Focus for Flourish of parenting, self development and wellness, and provided more time, structure and support for employees and Julia to devote to cultivating relationships to continue to find the target market they need to provide their wonderful services to.

Not only has our work together already significantly improved Flourish’s bottom line, but the staff and Julia are feeling more at ease, clearer about their roles and feeling more optimistic about their future. While I recognize the role I am playing to help Flourish Studios to “flourish”, none of the help I have offered would have made any difference at all if they were not willing and eager to act on what I am teaching them.

The joy in teaching entrepreneurs about sales and marketing, for me, is watching a world of possibility open to them when they act on what I am teaching them to do. Truthfully, I am not sure that a single one of Julia’s staff, at first, really believed the behavioral changes I was asking each of them to make in the way the communicated to clients would work. But they tried it anyway and agreed to being open minded and to continuing to do, consistently, the work I asked of them.

It is only now- three months later- that they are becoming believers in their own individual abilities to develop as entrepreneurs for Flourish Studios. When we learn how to express our care and nurturing to others through the services and products we believe in, we too, can begin to flourish, just like Flourish Studios.

And lastly, you never know, when you become an entrepreneur, who will cross your path that can change the course of your venture in positive ways. Thanks to the ETA competition Heartbeat of America and I created, Arianne Votasmeets desire to try her hand as a new artist and Dr. Julia Rahn’s passion to help others flourish, something amazing happened when our paths collided.

What amazing opportunities will your entrepreneurial efforts create? How will you flourish?

Self Promotion that Screams “Hire ME!”

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on May 31, 2009 at 9:25 pm

My friend Bobbie Soeder, from Catalyst Ranch, sent me in an email this advertisement from Peter Lloyd.

It is the best piece of self promotion I have seen in some time! Not only did I read every word of it, while laughing outloud, but I then spent at least 15 minutes reading through Peter’s website. If you want to see an “authentic” entrepreneur in action, read through Peter’s website and learn from how he uses his personality to create his brand and communicate his talents to his audience.

What can you do to express the work you do in your own authentic way that will scream hire me?

Peter Lloyd is a songwriter, author, ghostwriter, copywriter and content provider. Love this!
used-word-sale_2009

What does it take to get market share?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Marketing on March 27, 2009 at 12:17 am

What does it take to get market share? Let marketing guru Seth Godin, in this terrific video, tell you! Seth is spot on in this clip. Learn from him how to get YOUR ideas to spread and attract attention.

What’s the Value of a Tag Line?

In Marketing on March 3, 2009 at 11:18 am

Gwen Moran wrote this article that appeared in Entrepreneur Magazine, March 2009. Gwen is co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Plans. Reach her at gwen@gwenmoran.com.
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Fly the friendly skies.” “We try harder.” “Don’t leave home without it.” That little plug after your company name or logo can give your customers more clarity about your brand and a fast-pitch sell in just a few short words. And there’s no doubt a new tag line can give your brand a boost.

If you’re an established business with a tag line that’s a bit tired, there’s hope for you yet, says Allen Weiss, founder and CEO of MarketingProfs.com, an online marketing know-how resource with approximately 320,000 subscribers. Weiss and his team recently went through a tag line change of their own for the website (the new line is “Smart thinking. Pass it on”). Here are a few tips he shares from the process:

Focus on benefits. Assuming you’ve mastered the Marketing 101 edict of “know your audience,” the next step is to determine what you want to say. “You have to understand the benefits they care about most,” Weiss says. For example, if customers care about a balance between performance and price, over-emphasizing either one could be a turn-off. They may believe that an inexpensive product won’t perform well but that superior performance is too costly.

Start from scratch. Weiss says reinventing your tag line is different from re-inventing your brand. It’s not necessary to stick to themes in your former tag, especially if your business has changed. If you started selling on price, then the business changed and customers cared more about service, changing the tag is fine. “You wouldn’t just blow up the whole brand and start over,” he explains, “but with the tag line, you can.”

You wouldn’t just blow up the whole brand and start over. But with the tag line you can.

–Allen Weiss

Get help. Weiss says it’s a good idea to consult a professional writer or branding company to help craft your tag line, especially if you struggle with words. If your budget is a little too tight for that, he suggests visiting virtual watering holes where marketers congregate. MarketingProfs, for example, offers a free membership that grants access to its forums, where an entire section is devoted to tag lines. Weiss says that marketers often answer requests for help with tag lines there–gratis. Other free forums include copywriting.com and smallbusinessbrief.com.

Test it out. Before you order a three-year supply of stationery and business cards, make sure your tag line works. Weiss says it’s difficult to apply metrics to tag lines. Success lies in whether or not people get it, so ask your customers what the new tag line idea means to them and weigh the results. At the same time, don’t panic if some don’t like it. “Some people just don’t like change,” he says. “You have to ask questions about what they don’t like to find out if they’re just reacting to change or if the tag isn’t getting across.”

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This listing of The Best Website Taglines Around the Internet was posted on DailyBlogTips.com

A tagline can make or break a website (well, maybe not, but it is cool to be dramatic). Below you will find a collection of the best taglines around the Internet. Some of them are funny, some are clever; but all of them deliver the message! Hopefully it will serve as inspiration.

The Straight Dope: Fighting Ignorance since 1973 (It’s taking longer than we thought).
Maxim Philippines: The best thing that ever happened to men … after women!
The Consumerist: Shoppers bite back.
Random Acts of Reality: Trying to kill as few people as possible…
Joshuaink: Same old shit, different day.
The Superficial: Because you’re ugly.
Smashing Magazine: We smash you with information that will make your life easier. Really.
The Best Page in the Universe: This page is about me and why everything I like is great. If you disagree with anything you find on this page, you are wrong.
Scaryduck: Not scary. Not a duck.
The Art of Rhysisms: Chronologically inept since 2060.
Needcoffee.com: We are the Internet equivalent of a triple espresso with whipped cream. Mmmm…whipped cream.
Ample Sanity: Life is short. Make fun of it.
Rathergood.com: The Lair of the Crab of Ineffable Wisdom – a load of stuff by Joel Veitch that will probably crush your will to live.
The Breakfast Blog: In search of the best eggs in town.
Dooce: Not even remotely funny.
Pink is the new blog: Everybody’s business is my business.
Shoemoney: Skills to pay the bills.
Oh No They Didnt’t!: The celebrities are disposable, the content is priceless.
YouTube: Broadcast Yourself.
Waiter Rant: Do you want Pommes Frite with that?
Newshounds: We watch FOX so you don’t have to.
Sabrina Faire: All the fun of a saucy wench, none of the overpriced beer.
Defective Yeti: A maze of twisty passages, all alike.
All About George: All about George Kelly… you know, if you go in for that sort of thing.
Go Fug Yourself: Fugly is the new pretty.
kottke.org: Home of fine hypertext products.
Slashdot: News for nerds. Stuff that matters.
Gawker: Daily Manhattan media news and gossip. Reporting live from the center of the universe.
Get Rich Slowly: Personal finance that makes cents.
hi5: Who’s in?
Fotolog: Share your world with the world.
Jezebel: Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women, Without Aribrushing.
Autoblog: We obssessibely cover the auto industry.
Boing Boing: A directory of wonderful things.
Perez Hilton: Celebrity Juice. Not from concentrate.
DumbLittleMan: So what do we do here? Well, it’s simple. 15 to 20 times per week we provide tips that will save you money, increase your productivity, or simply keep you sane.
Lifehacker: Don’t live to geek, geek to live!
Gizmodo: The gadget guide. So much in love with shiny new toys, it’s unnatural.
John Cow Dot Com: Make Moooney Online with John Cow Dot Com
WebWorkerDaily: Rebooting the workforce.
The Simple Dollar: Financial talk for the rest of us.
TrafficBunnies: Making your hits multiply like rabbits.
Mighty Girl: Famous among dozens.
The Sneeze: Half zine. Half blog. Half not good with fractions.
Buzz Marketing: Because everyone is entitled to my opinion.
Your favorite tagline is not here? Just post a comment and I will update the list.

Creativity and Imagination Training is on the Rise!

In Current Events, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing on February 1, 2009 at 5:47 am

dreamstime_6193508Congrats Linda Naiman for finding this great Harvard report on the value of developing more creativity and imagination across college campuses. My heart jumps for joy with every article like this I read because the world is awakening to the possibilities of what artistic training can provide, finally, before our very eyes. I truly thought this day would never come. Keep up the great work Linda!

John Cimino and I just returned from a day we spent with faculty fellows at Millikin University. It was not only a special day because we were off campus at the zoo, but in the middle of the afternoon the wolves howled. It was like they were singing Millikin’s praises for promoting the development of entrepreneurial imagination.

Take notice dear reader. The state of the world is offering up a new world of possibilities. Perhaps for the first time ever the arts will draw the kind of attention they deserve. There really is profound economic value from learning how to become more creative- and what’s even better it comes from the world inside of you that simply needs to come encouraged and reminded how to come out into the sunshine and play.
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Harvard University recently published a task force report on a New Vision for the Arts. The report says while the arts may be everywhere on campus, they are also conspicuously marginal.

The vitality of artistic activity on campus is rendered nearly invisible to the Harvard and local community by the lack of a centralized listing of readings, performances, screenings, and exhibitions. It is a typical and frequent experience for anyone vitally interested in the arts here to learn a day or a week after the event that something remarkable has occurred and is now over. And, more deeply we have, in relation to the arts, failed to foster a sense of urgency. What is missing—what the university has yet sufficiently to recognize and to broadcast—is a sense that the arts matter, and not just for one’s private pleasure, but for one’s public person and career.

The university wants to take the arts out of the sidelines and make it more central to education.

To allow innovation and imagination to thrive on our campus, to educate and empower creative minds across all disciplines, to help shape the twenty-first century, Harvard must make the arts an integral part of the cognitive life of the university: for along with the sciences and the humanities, the arts—as they are both experienced and practiced—are irreplaceable instruments of knowledge.

Yes, the arts matter in business, society and culture and I’m glad Harvard sees the light.

Read the full report here:

Best and Worst Marketing Campaigns

In Author: Lisa Canning, Marketing on January 29, 2009 at 12:33 am

Below are 13 great marketing campaign to gleam some ideas from and 5 that really flopped. This article was written by Gwen Moran and appeared Entrepreneur Magazine this month, January 2009.
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Some marketing efforts manage to hit the ball out of the park. They resonate with the consumer, generate tremendous buzz and even permeate pop culture, becoming part of our lives and linguistics.

In a rather unscientific manner, we’ve gathered more than a dozen of these iconic campaigns and consulted a variety of experts to explain why they were so great. Here’s a recap along with the lessons that can benefit you and your business.

#1. Best making the best of a bad image: Las Vegas’ “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign
After a failed attempt to promote itself as a family destination, Las Vegas finally embraced its Sin City image with its “What happens here, stays here” advertising campaign, launched in 2003. It’s still going strong: 2007 marked the city’s fourth consecutive year of busting tourism records. “It resonated because it’s what people already believe,” says Laura Ries, president of marketing strategy firm Ries & Ries.

Lesson: Try to turn negatives into positives.

#2. Best product placement: Reese’s Pieces in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Some marketing missteps make you kick yourself. Take Mars Inc.’s failure to take the opportunity to include M&Ms in E.T. After Mars passed, director Steven Spielberg went to Hershey’s, which took the offer. It paid off. Time magazine reported in 1982 that Reese’s Pieces sales rose 65 percent in the months after the movie’s release. Even though the movie never mentioned the name of the product, showing the distinctive orange package was enough, and the placement enjoyed heavy promotional support from the manufacturer.

Lesson: Placing your product in the right media vehicle can boost sales.

#3. Best video ad: Get a Mac
Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign, which launched in 2006, puts the hip, easygoing Mac against the hapless, problem-prone PC. “The message of these ads is clear,” says communications professor Stephen Marshall, author of Television Advertising That Works. “Every one of them says, ‘Don’t be this guy.’ You don’t want to be the PC.” The TV ads also appeared online, and the company released a series of web-only ads to capitalize on consumer interest in the characters. People got the message–Mac’s market share grew by 42 percent.

Lesson: Create engaging characters in your online video to help grow an audience that’s receptive to your brand.

#4. Best contest:Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
Launched in 1916, this homage to gluttony plasters the Nathan’s name across international media each year. Brothers George and Richard Shea launched the International Federation of Competitive Eating in 1997. The IFOCE organizes and runs more than 80 eating contests throughout the U.S. and abroad, spurring a subculture of competitive eating celebrities who receive international media attention.

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to be outrageous if it suits your brand.

#5. Best use of YouTube: Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?”
Blendtec, a maker of high-end blenders, created a series of online videos that depict founder Tom Dickson using his durable machine to smash everything from small electronics to sneakers to credit cards. The videos are on Blendtec’s site as well as YouTube, where, through viral marketing, some have been viewed more than 5.5 million times. It shows people are interested–and it saves money, since Blendtec didn’t pay for all that band-width. Says Ann Handley, chief content officer of marketing information resource MarketingProfs.com, “They created a campaign that really builds brand awareness.”

Lesson: Use various tools to spread the word about how your brand is different.

#6. Best slogan: “got Milk?”
What better success benchmark than having your slogan work its way into the national lexicon? It’s even better when it includes your product name, says Mitzi Crall, author of 100 Smartest Marketing Ideas Ever. The simplicity of the slogan lends itself to a wide variety of advertising interpretations, ranging from humorous

TV ads to the celebrity-driven milk mustache print series. “The images of glamour and fame contrasted with the hominess of a milk mustache make the versatile tagline a hit,” says Crall. A year after the campaign launched in California, the state saw an increase in milk sales for the first time in more than 10 years.

Lesson: Look for slogans that have the potential for longevity.

#7. Best jingle: NBC jingle
If you can name that brand in three notes, it must be the NBC jingle. Of course, repetition over the years has reinforced the brand, but there’s more to it. “It’s called mnemonics, or sonic branding,” says Marshall. “By adding sound to its brand identity, it adds another way for customers to experience the brand. It especially makes sense because it’s a broadcast medium.”

Lesson: Look for ways to add additional sensory branding elements when relevant.

#8. Best use of truth in a crisis: Tylenol
When cyanide-laced capsules of Extra Strength Tylenol were linked to seven deaths in the Chicago area in 1982, parent company Johnson & Johnson faced a full-blown crisis. While other companies might have lied or evaded the situation, then-CEO James E. Burke issued a full recall of the product and engaged in regular media updates that were shockingly honest for the time. All consumers with bottles of Tylenol capsules could swap them for Tylenol tablets at Johnson & Johnson’s cost. “Telling the truth is always a good long-term strategy,” says Scott Armstrong, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. “When that’s violated, it leads to a fall.”

Lesson: Be truthful with your customers and you’ll keep their trust.

#9. Best use of social networking to target tweens and teens: High School Musical
After the success of the made-for-TV movies High School Musical and High School Musical 2, Disney teamed up with MySpace in what TV Guide called the social network’s largest campaign. The promotion included a contest where fans showed school spirit by completing tasks such as uploading videos, changing profile skins and texting votes for their school.

Lesson: Find the media your audience uses and go there.

#10. Best celebrity spokesman: William Shatner as The Priceline Negotiator
When William Shatner first started touting Priceline.com’s cut-rate service in 1997, no one thought the relationship–or the company, for that matter–would last more than a decade. But through a savvy reinvention of itself, Priceline thrived with the campy James Bond-gone-wrong Shatner as its public persona. That long-term element is part of the relationship’s success, says Ries. “You get the feeling that he’s very much in tune with the brand and the company. That kind of longevity and dedication can be [very] effective.”

Lesson: A little fun can go a long way.

#11. Best logo: Nike Swoosh
There are a number of rumors about exactly how much Nike paid Portland State University graphic design student Carolyn Davidson for the Swoosh in the early ’70s (actually $35), but it’s been the brand’s mark since it was introduced on Nike footwear at the 1972 U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials. The reason it works? It’s an “empty vessel,” says Ries. “It’s so simple and visible at a distance. Another logo might have been well-known but wouldn’t have done the brand as much good if it had been more complicated.” Because the Swoosh has no innate meaning attached to it, Nike can use it to build any image it desires.

Lesson: Sometimes too many bells and whistles can make your logo less effective.

#12. Best use of outdoor advertising: The Goodyear Blimp
Is there anyone who doesn’t recognize the blimp when it passes by? “The Goodyear Blimp is its own kind of magic,” says Crall. “If we see it float by when we’re going about our daily lives, we run to get our spouses and children to ‘come see.’ We’re receptive to the brand message.”

Lesson: Be unexpected in how and where you communicate with your customers.

#13. Best use of promotional items: Livestrong wristbands
After the news broke in 1996 that champion bicyclist Lance Armstrong had cancer, he founded his Lance Armstrong Foundation the following year. Working with Nike, the foundation developed a yellow silicon wristband stamped with the Livestrong mantra to sell as a fundraiser. According to lancewins.com, more than 45 million have been sold so far. The bracelets became an immediately identifiable symbol of Armstrong, who often wore the yellow leaders jersey while cycling to seven Tour de France victories.

Lesson: Have a signature look, whether it’s a giveaway or simply in how you present your brand, so people recognize you immediately.

5 worst marketing ideas . . . ever
While some campaigns are notable for their brilliance, others, well, not so much. Here are five marketing efforts we could have done without.

#1. Worst campaign to trigger a bomb scare: Aqua Teen Hunger Force In January 2007, Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s promotion of its TV show Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which featured small electronic light boards with one of the series’ characters, triggered a bomb scare in Boston.

#2. Worst use of body parts in marketing: Logo tattoos In the 1990s, California eatery Casa Sanchez offered free lunch for life to anyone who got a tattoo of their logo. Nervous about how quickly people were getting inked, the eatery limited the offer to the first 50 people.

#3. Worst sponsorship idea: Bidding for baby naming rights The dotcom era ushered in a (thankfully small) rash of people trying to sell off their children’s names for extra dough. Poor little Widget Smith.

#4. Worst campaign character: The Quiznos creatures Superimposed over a Quiznos sub shop were two disturbing, singing rat-like creatures. Fortunately, the shop got wise and ditched them after public outcry. But it’s an image that stays with you. Go ahead, look them up on YouTube–but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

#5. Worst plague-like sweep of viral marketing: Starbucks’ viral marketing fiasco A free-coffee coupon sent by baristas with no restrictions circulated the internet, causing an overwhelming rate of renewal. Ultimately the coffee purveyor stopped honoring the coupon, causing a mini controversy.

Gwen Moran is co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Plans. Reach her at gwen@gwenmoran.com.

The Shack: A DIY Author’s Success

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, Money, Risk, Writing on January 19, 2009 at 1:46 am

Another story about how “they said it couldn’t be done”…..
Written by Karen Hunter, BlackVoices.com
theshack‘The Shack’ sold more than four million copies-one of the biggest hits of the year. But what many don’t know is that the publisher sold about a million copies of the best seller out of his garage in California. After submitting the manuscript to 20 different major publishers, both mainstream and Christian, and getting 20 rejection letters, Brad Cummings, along with his partner Wayne Jacobsen, who has had several works published by mainstream publishers, decided to print the book themselves.

“It was a little too much Jesus for the mainstream publishers and too edgy for the [Christian] publishers, but we knew it was fine just the way it was and we didn’t want to change it,” said Cummings. “Wayne had grown tired of the publishing industry because it was in the same old rut. I was actually hoping no one would buy it because I didn’t want to just give this away.”

Without any advertising, very limited marketing, but with a whole lot of faith, Cummings and Jacobsen went to a small printer nearby, printed 10,000 copies and were in business, launching Windblown Media. Their marketing? A podcast, TheGodJourney.com, which they hosted weekly and talked about God and things that mattered to them. About three years ago, they started talking about this book they were working on and their audience, about 8,000 strong, showed a great interest in the project. Cummings and Jacobsen had 1,000 pre-orders before they even finished the book and they sold out the 10,000 first print-run in less than three months. ”

“It was like that commercial where someone tells two friends and they tell two friends and so on,” said Cummings. “It was all word of mouth. Our listeners were the best PR reps we could find. And we didn’t have to spend a dime to get the message out there. For a year and a half we were unintentionally teasing people about this book. When it finally was out, people really wanted it. But more than that, they wanted everyone they knew to read it, too.”

Cummings and Jacobsen started selling ‘The Shack’ by the caseload and had to expand their operations and move it from the study in Cummings’ home to his garage, which was filled to the hilt with cases of books.

“This is the quintessential Cinderella story,” said Cummings. “It frightens some of the big publishers because they say, ‘Oh, my Gosh, they don’t need us!’ We’re not the new gurus on the block. We don’t have an explanation for this other than this message resonates deep inside of people.”

The story is about one man who experienced a tragedy and questions the existence of God. He receives a letter in the mail from “Papa,” which is the name his wife uses for God. Papa wants to meet him at a shack. He decides to go and what he finds is a whole new understanding of God.

“One of the coolest responses we got was from a 13-year-old girl who told us that the way she read her Bible she never measured up,” Cummings said. “She never really felt that God loved her. But after reading ‘The Shack’ she fell in love with Papa and now has a brand new understanding of the Bible. ‘The Shack’ has led her into her own conversational relationship with God.”

‘The Shack’s message is definitely inspiring, but the story of its success should also be encouraging to anyone who has a great story to tell and cannot get a mainstream publisher to publish it. Have faith. And do it yourself!

A Creative Leap at Catalyst Ranch

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

John Cimino, from Creative Leaps International, and I are pleased to announce that Catalyst Ranch, an incredible creativity-driven meeting space provider and progressive business-thought-leader, has offered us the opportunity to use their facility as our home until we are able to have our own space for a Chicago based Renaissance Center. (OMG. Chicago Arts Incubator? Any of you remember me sharing my dream about creating one? Well, my “lucky” day may just be around the corner, with my friend, John. But don’t get too excited for me just yet.-

Those dang last-stretch-to-home corners are not that lucky to actually get-off-easy, catch a break, and make a quick turn around. Most of the time.

Oh, and the other problem? You know the euphoria you feel followed by the inside-your-head part, that voice that says nice stuff to you, sometimes part, like “yah, this is really gonna happen?”

Well I got big news, there ain’t no stinkin’ guarantees! But really, once you get use to muscling-a-stomach for taking some calculated risks in life in the name of passionate-pursuits– it’s really not all that bad and maybe even a fun– most of the time- except for maybe all of last year but who’s counting)

SO, If you live in Chicago, please come. Or if you are passing through town, too, please, won’t you come? Or maybe you have a few friends who your sure would really be interested in knowing more about this and who might even consider coming to Chicago? It’s Wednesday January 28th from 6-8pm

Won’t you join us to learn more about the work of Creative Leaps and The Renaissance Center in Chicago? If you would like to reserve a seat please email me, Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com. The event is free but seating is limited to the first 75 who reply. ( And if you have never been to Catalyst Ranch- trust me- you’ll want to come.)

john-cimino-informal

John Cimino, president of Creative Leaps International, is returning to Chicago for a third round presentation and discussion of his theme: “Bridging the Ingenuity Gap in the 21st Century”. For the benefit those who missed his sessions in September and October, John will provide a quick paced summary of his earlier presentation before moving on to a wider discussion of his vision for a Renaissance Center for Innovation, Learning and Leadership in the Chicago area.

In his initial sessions, John Cimino discussed the “habits of mind” linked to creativity, ingenuity and imaginative insights. He also reviewed recent findings in neuroscience revealing the brain’s unique experience of the arts and arts-based thinking. Alongside creativity, Cimino emphasized the need for connectivity, that is, thinking across boundaries, disciplines and cultures to address the complex issues of a globally inter-connected world. According to Cimino, designing “high tech, high touch” environments for creativity and connectivity is the central challenge of our institutions of higher education, research and professional development.

(from his introduction) Scholar Thomas Homer Dixon describes the “ingenuity gap” – the space between problems that arise and our ability to solve them – as growing today at an alarming rate (in business, scientific research, education, the environment and world affairs). Author Ken Robinson proclaims we are “Out of Our Minds” to have sidelined creativity and the arts when every layer of American society from elementary education to supply-side economics is starved for more imagination, more original thinking, and more creative intelligence.

In this latest session, John Cimino opens the doors to a deeper examination and wider discussion of his vision for a network of Renaissance Centers for Innovation, Learning and Leadership and their significance in bridging knowledge across disciplines. In particular, he will ask how can such a Renaissance Center best serve the needs of Chicago’s own institutions of higher education, business, commerce, leadership, creativity, the arts and arts-based education reforms in the schools? What kinds of partnerships among institutions, public and private, would be essential? Finally, in addition to addressing the needs of individual sectors, what global and overarching issues important to Chicago should the Renaissance Center address in its cross-disciplinary, transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary forums?

Come join John Cimino for an evening of spirited dialogue, creative collaboration and exploration of a new vision for interdisciplinary learning, creativity and leadership.

Jump Start Your Life- I have the spark plug

In Accounting, Art, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

dreamstime_3139037One of the reasons I want to write books is because books, art, poetry and film, as examples, all intrinsically are built to last. Their very form offers easy “spark-creating-experience” access, like a hand full of nourishment going right into our mouth. Love that rush of energy that follows, don’t you? You know, the part before you get tired?

While it is impossible for a memory to replace the actual real time experience of ephoria, or intense joy, anger or sadness– only the kind a work of art can deliver, it can be waiting eagerly for you on a shelf, if it’s a book, or hanging on your wall.

What a basic concept entrepreneurship is for artistry, and yet without this simple “must have”, generations upon generations have defined who we are and what we are capable of creating for others in life, through a very narrow, confining, and as I see it, rather destructive single lens.

In honor of the power of the written word to enlighten and transform, here is my recommended reading list to jump start your very best you in 2009.


Do You Want to Become More Entrepreneurial?

* Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham

* The Art of The Start by Guy Kawasaki

* Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies,
by Michael Gerber

* Who’s Your City? How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, by Richard Florida

*The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live, by
Scott A. Shane

*Bounce!: Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success, by Barry J. Moltz

*Birthing the Elephant: A Woman’s Go-For-It Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business, by Karen Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman

Marketing Maven
* Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin

* The New Marketing Manifesto: The 12 Rules for Building Successful Brands in the 21st Century (Business Essentials) by John Grant

* The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

* Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say by Douglas Rushkoff

* Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

* The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing by Emanuel Rosen

* The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott

Organizational Development
* The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market by Michael Treacy

* Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

* The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky

*First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

* Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham

* Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Financial Health Check
*The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical & Spiritual Steps So you Can Stop Worrying by Suze Orman

* Finance Your New or Growing Business: How to Find and Raise Capital for Your Venture by Ralph Alterowitz and Jon Zonderman

*Conscious Finance: Uncover Your Hidden Money Beliefs and Transform the Role of Money in Your Life by Rick Kahle

*The Seven Stages of Money Maturity: Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life by George Kinder

*The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist

Reaching for Greatness
* The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

* This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love by Tama Kieves

* Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland

* The Everyday Work of Art by Eric Booth

* The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer