Leadership, Consistency & the Twenty Mile March

For those of you who attended the 4.07.16 talk in Freehold, NJ for STAR 99.1, the goal was to help tweak your business trajectory a little bit; maybe 2-3%
(because we grow best in increments…not in giant leaps).

Here is the body of my talk along with links, tools & strategies to help you stay consistent!

  1. The 20 Mile March
    In 1911 there were 2 expeditions that set off at roughly the same time. They were racing to see who could be the first humans to make it the South Pole; and you can read this story in detail in Jim Collin’s book ‘Great by Choice’, and he uses it to make some great examples, but I want to narrow it down and make just one point – and I don’t think you’ll ever forget it.

He talks about these 2 expeditions which were from 2 different countries and their leaders had 2 very different leadership styles: One had invested in the latest technology and had a Amundsen2certain plan about redundancy of food supply, leaving markers for himself and all the like. The other went with age-old animals, played it a little safer and had 5 times the backup food supply that he figured he needed and had a triple redundancy system with flags & markers to figure out where he left the food along the way.

The one over here though – and this is the real difference – this expedition team, when the weather was good, when conditions were fair and the sun was out and the winds weren’t strong and it wasn’t precipitating they would pretty much make hay while the sun shined. They’d keep moving and they’d do really well on good days. And then when the weather got bad as its wont to do down there, they would tent up and wait it out; a plan that sounds perfectly logical!

On the other side, this expedition which started out at roughly the same time, heading for the same destination of a fourteen hundred mile round trip – they would go 20 miles a day whether it was good or bad: no matter what they would go exactly 20 miles a day. And the men thought that the leader was crazy because it’d be a beautiful day: 55 degrees the sun shining, not precipitating we could see for miles, we’re not even winded – let’s keep going, like—let’s take advantage of this weather. Nope! 20 miles, make camp.

Meanwhile over here this expedition…is hot-footing it and they’re getting way ahead.

Over here, though, the weather would get really bad, it’d be 45 degrees below zero…raining sideways, as Forrest Gump would say – probably sleeting sideways – and they would still go 20 miles…risking frostbite, risking death – very tough conditions – they would still make their 20 miles. While this group would be in their tent huddled up, writing in their journal about how no human could ever move a foot forward in this weather…these humans were going 20 miles. And day came & day left and day came and day left and day came…and this group would race ahead…………….& stop, and this group 20, 20 , 20 , 20…Amundsen1

It’s the old tortoise & the hare story, isn’t it? And you’re probably a little ahead of me and you probably know…kinda’…how this goes: The 20 Mile Marchers, who no matter what, exactly 20:

  • It’s a nice day! So what, exactly 20!
  • It’s a bad day! So what, exactly 20!
  • But I’m tired! So what, exactly 20!
  • But Fred’s injured! So what, exactly 20!
  • We could go 70 today…SHUTUP…20!

…they got all the way to the South Pole…saw no trace of the other expedition and left a note behind and some directions to some backup food supply – because now they had w-a-y more than enough – they left a bunch of it there, they left directions just trying to help these other guys, they had no idea where they were, this was 1911 this was before really good radio communication technology.

So they plant their country’s flag, make the round trip, get out safe, and they always wondered what happened to this expedition…until, finally, they were found, unfortunately, by a subsequent search & rescue party, frozen in the snow, mere miles from one of their stored food locations…….which they couldn’t find.

Racing ahead and making hay while the sun shined – and then bottling down and complaining when things got tough…didn’t seem to be the formula for success – as a matter of fact in their extreme case it was a formula for complete, utter failure.

 I may say that this is the greatest factor—the way in which the expedition is equipped—the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.
— from The South Pole, by Roald Amundsen


2. Here’s How Snapchat Became Such a Hot Platform for Digital Marketers
in So Little Time…

…and what it could still do better!

Considering how Snapchat now arguably holds the claim for digital marketing’s hottest real estate, it’s hard to believe that it was only 15 months ago that the platform’s first paid Snapchatad ran for the Universal Pictures horror flick Ouija. Since then, Snapchat has skyrocketed to the top of advertisers’ agendas, even as the Los Angeles company has demanded that brands pay as much as $750,000 for sponsorships.

“I think Snapchat has just begun to scratch the surface of what they could do as a vehicle for brand content,” said Noah Mallin, head of social, MEC North America. “My sense is its growth will continue and even accelerate [throughout] 2016. What happens beyond that is tied to their ability to do what Facebook has done so well—keep innovating new ways for users and advertisers to find value from the platform.”

Snapchat, with its 100 million daily users, is expected to have its IPO in 2016, just four years after launching its ephemeral app. So it has taken CEO Evan Spiegel half the time to get to the same chronological spot where Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg stood in 2012 when he took his site public during its eighth year.

“Snapchat’s major advantage is that it’s entirely rooted in the user behavior and values of a digitally native demographic, not in those of a demo who started using social media in college,” noted Topher Burns, group director, distribution strategy at Deep Focus. “It understands how they want to share and consume content, what they’re comfortable divulging, and how to appeal to their interests.”

While industry observers have been wowed by the timeline (see details below) on which Snapchat’s ascent has occurred, they still want to see more marketing tools. Here’s an agency wish list:
Marketing Moments


3. Marketing for the Year in Which We Actually Live
One major reason Snapchat is winning, and will continue to win, is its focus on video. The storytelling capabilities around how people create content on Snapchat is fantastic. There is so much room for creativity, and it reminds me far more of a space like YouTube than Twitter.

It’s also an especially interesting platform because the consumer attention it has is very deep. Snapchat hasn’t quite matured or “sold out” yet, but it’s boasting an enormous amount of daily active users.

As of last December, 36 percent of Americans aged 18-29 had an account, and they are now reporting 7 billion video views each day, rivaling Facebook. But while the platform is big and has lots of opportunity, it’s still quite young. We are just now starting to see the first signs of Snapchat aging up. It’s about to go through its first 20- to 40-year renaissance, and that is exciting. It’s a huge platform, but it still has a solid 24 to 36 months ahead of it that will be of great importance.

The point is this: See where consumer attention is going and follow it. Better yet, try to get out in front of it…& lead the way. As I notice Snapchat taking off, I’m putting more and more emphasis, time and resources into it. So many marketers act like they’re talking about attention, but they’re not. Impressions do not equate to attention. Understand the emerging markets, understand where your consumer is, and meet them there.

Don’t make them come to you—chances are they won’t.

4. Your Brand’s Message
Once you’re on board as to where your customers are…what’s your plan for messaging, modeling & creating a culture around your brand?

To do this, envision a roll of Velcro Tape:

  • The fuzzy side is your audience. Velcro
  • The loop side is your message
  • Think of how effective one Velcro loop is at holding the fuzzy side intact. Not too effective, right?
  • And it’s the same with your brand – with your message.
    • One message won’t do – you must create several looped hooks to retain the customer’s trust & interest. And they must all be consistent: consistent with your
      • brand, consistent
      • with your culture and consistent
      • with your call to action
      • and what you can do for your client that no one else can do!
    • Vaynerchuk mentions Story Telling via SnapChat video – and we could do an entire session on story telling – engaging stories that meet the customer where they are & slowly pulls them into your world…into your “why” (and, more importantly, what that means to them).:
      Keeping consistency in mind, can you tell your brand’s Velcro story in versions of 20, 30 & 60 seconds & then a 4 minute minute version as well (depending upon how much time you’ve just been allotted)?.
    • It’s not “Hey….look @ me!” – it’s “What are YOU  interested in?”
      • That works wonderfully, not only in Advertising…but in Networking as well:
      • Phrases like
        • “No….!”
        • “You don’t say!!”
        • “How on earth did you get that accomplished?” or
        • “You’re kidding me?!?”
      • …usually end up with you being seen a s a brilliant conversationalist!
    • The brand needs to be there to serve.
    • Therefore focus on the systems that connect, engage & develop new customers…as people.
    • And, once you consistently begin to accomplish this on a regular basis…you should begin to acquire a steady stream of not only new customers…but customers who willingly refer others to you and your services!

Btw, if you Google “How to make video on Snapchat” (OR Facebook & Instagram) – you’ll be able to get instructions, links to software (some of it free or low-cost) – then all you’ll need is a Millennial on staff who knows their way around that kind of stuff in their sleep.

Gary Vaynerchuk Talks with Stephanie Ruhle on the Current State of Entrepreneurship & Social Media (Advisory: Mr Vaynerchuck doesn’t always watch his language!)

5. Summary:

  • Utilize & leverage the power of consistency: not for a week, or a month or even a year; make it second nature for your brand and your corporate culture.
  • Go… or figure out how you can get, to where the customers are right now. Today. Develop all that content for the social media outlets that are trending culturally now, as opposed to traditional outlets that may have worked in the past…but may not be producing the results you need now…in real-time engagement!
  • Develop a series of interconnected messages that model exactly what problem your brand solves for your targeted audience:
    • i.e. What can you do for them?
  • It’s not “me first”…it’s “them” (customers) first! Sorta’ like the late Zig Ziglar used to say: “If you help enough other people get what THEY want…you’ll end up getting what you want.”

6. Additional Resources:

About gabulmer

Christian apologist, husband, father, runner, blogger, leader with LIFE Leadership.
This entry was posted in In the Trenches, Notes from the Frontline, Tool Room. Bookmark the permalink.

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