How to learn anything and become successful
You’ve probably read that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert on anything. I recently read a book that proposes learning anything fast (you can watch the author talk about it at TED here) - in only 20 hours! What’s really interesting is the idea that it takes only a certain (small) amount of time to reach a basic level of any activity as opposed to being an expert. Ten thousand or 20 hours, it doesn’t really matter in my opinion. It’s not about time; it’s more than that. It’s about quality, effort, and more importantly, habit. Unfortunately, most of us fall victim to one of the first two criteria, and even though we’re creatures of habit, we have trouble creating new habits so the rest of us quit at the third stage.
What buzz, viral and word-of-mouth marketing have in common
These days, marketing is all about making noise, generating buzz, and going viral. Word-of-mouth has been around for ages, but buzz marketing and viral marketing are concepts that emerged with the internet and social media. What all of these have in common is that they rely on the help of consumers themselves – whether knowingly or unknowingly – to get the word out, they are short-term strategies generally with the goal of increasing brand awareness by echoing its name, and they fail to create long-lasting effects. However, some brands forget that marketing has to have a coherent message.
Defining a brand: for what and for whom
Brands are remarkable beings. They function like living, breathing organisms. They grow, they mature, they evolve over time. Much like us, they adapt to survive. They are the first of man’s creations to take on a life of its own. They incorporate values and beliefs to create a personality for people to identify with. They use images and messages to form an identity that makes them unique. We relate to and feel strongly for brands, some of which we have come to love.
Brand positioning in your mind – and your clothes
Just kidding, keep your clothes on. See, I’m going to talk about the clothes you’re wearing… and brand positioning. Fashion statements are a great example of effective brand positioning. Brand positioning is the sum of values that a company wants its target audience to associate with it in order to set it apart from its competition, like a personality or a stereotype. Yes, brands also want to fit in and attract consumers so they have to incorporate traits we can identify with. A fashion statement is the name given to certain clothing that expresses an attitude or reflects a lifestyle of the person wearing it; successful fashion statements are easy to identify with due to their strong messages, like Ed Hardy and Ralph Lauren.
Marketing in a digital world and the need for personal relationships
In the internet age, marketing is in the very hearts and minds of consumers. Interactions between companies and consumers have allowed for an evolution in marketing by creating stronger bonds, partly due to the rise and growth of online communication channels, but more importantly, due to the sharing of values and beliefs. More and more, consumers use brands to express who they are and brands rely on people to spread their voice.
I’m not an entrepreneur yet, but I am entrepreneurial. I enjoy identifying problems and fixing them in innovative and creative ways. I like challenging myself for constant improvement and testing myself to push my limits. I wrote a post on the Small-Time Entrepreneur blog about how we should take an entrepreneur’s approach to everything from mundane tasks to personal goals, and I got to thinking about how I actually incorporate that into my everyday life.
Making career decisions is one tough job!
Recently, I had to turn down a job offer. It was an interesting position and an appealing proposition but in the end I realized it just wasn’t right for me. This was unfortunate and it was a difficult decision but I know I made it for the best. My experience throughout the process – this being my first post-university job offer – taught me a lot and it forced me to think about my career and goals and to rethink the way I go about searching for a job.