Creating a Culture That Feeds BIG Dreams!

As entrepreneurs it’s difficult to develop a leadership culture that challenges the “status quo” without putting yourself on the line. For years I have been challenged repeatedly on my so-called “Thinking Outside The Box” mentality. It is both my strength and my weakness. My ideas tend to be so grandiose at times that others either can’t see the dream or can’t comprehend its fluidity.

As a result, my ideas can often be created in a vacuum without honest feedback. The weakness being that I find myself with my head in the clouds dreaming rather than implementing. As a result…I end up with a whole lot of dreams…but very little action.

The challenge comes in building a team around me that not only can see the dream, but believe in it and can take action to make it happen. Ultimately allowing me the freedom to do what I do best…come up with better and bigger dreams.

To do this requires a balancing act of understanding who I am and where I fit into the hierarchy of my leadership team, while remaining vulnerable enough to warrant their acceptance and ownership of the dream.

My dream for my company MarketAtomy, LLC is to build a culture that believes there is an entrepreneur in everyone no matter what station in life or economic challenges. We live in a country that fosters this mentality and the possibility. However, in a country where it is so easy to start a business…it is not as easy to grow a business. Most of the help offered through organizations that tout they are here for small business provide either simple checklists for what needs to be done or won’t even consider helping unless they are making a half million in gross revenues. The result being that out of the more than 500 thousand new businesses opened every year, more than 75% have failed within two years. My IMPACT or BIG dream is to make a substantial dent in the number of failed businesses through education, mentoring and accountability coaching to ensure they remain on track. Additionally, I plan to be in front of Congress within three years to fight for financial incentives for small businesses that demonstrate they have put in the time and effort to learning the skills and tools needed to effectively grow a sustaining business. BIG, BIG dream right?

How am I going to do that? By surrounding myself with a team of BIG thinkers like me who believe in my “Crusade” and can take up the challenge with me. In order to build the culture needed to make this happen I realize that I need to come at this from a place of transparency.

  1. I first need to engage them in how the idea came to mind in the first place. By admitting that I have had two failed businesses under my belt puts me out there in an uncomfortable position …but at the same time may resonate with them as “familiar” territory having done that…got the T-shirt.
  2. Secondly, I need to allow my team to own the dream by providing an open platform for them to communicate freely…challenging and adding to the dream.
  3. Next, I have to TRUST by VERIFY that they are able and willing to contribute to the implementation of the dream, providing the forward-focused momentum needed to complete their tasks
  4. Finally, acknowledging them all and celebrating when the dream is accomplished. It is no longer my dream…but our dream.

So…if you are a BIG dreamer or Visionary, surrounding yourself with other team members who are of like mind will only enhance your dream and fuel the dream. Teams of this caliber tend to not only contribute to the dream but they also engage their own influencers/followers that only strengthens support.

MarketAtomy, LLC equips entrepreneurs with skills based learning, tools, mentoring and coaching needed build a solid infrastructure for business growth. If you are in need of more in-depth assistance our “Done-With-You” consulting services are available at the click of a button by going to http://www.marketatomy.com.

Biography

Danna is a Business Growth Strategist and CEO of MarketAtomy, LLC. Her passion is working with small first stage entrepreneurs to ensure that they start out on the right foot and stay on the path to financial freedom. Known as the Business Birthing Specialist, Danna understands the intricacies involved in starting and running a successful business. As an intricate component ingrained into her client’s business structure, she works diligently to keep her clients accountable and on track to fulfilling their success goals.

A graduate of the University of Central Florida’s College of Business. She brings more than 35 years of strategic planning experience in business, marketing and business development both nationally and internationally.

Danna is not only a professional business growth strategist but has worked as an International Strategist within the country of Brazil, is a public speaker and #1 Best Selling Author on Amazon with collaborative books “Success From The Heart” and “Journey To The Stage.” She has also published her own book “MarketAtomy: What To Expect When Expecting A Business” available through Amazon on Kindle.

Wolf Under Fire!

I have been working for the past year and half to break into the Digital Marketing arena to help brand MarketAtomy before my target market with informational webinars. I knew THAT this was important to do for my business…I even knew WHAT the subject matter and message would be, but I still kept putting it on the back burner for a number of reasons. I kept telling myself that it would happen when the time was right…It had to be perfect before I put it out there…That no one would want to hear what I had to say. All the while I was telling people at networking events and social gatherings that this is what I had planned and to watch for more information.

You’ve heard the story about the boy who cried wolf right? Well that is the message I was putting out there among my peers. It even got to the point that one time someone came up to me after I said this and told me…”I’m still waiting, when are you going to make it happen?”

It just so happened that I was at another networking event just last week and the subject came up. I debated how I would address this once again …“I couldn’t say that I’m going to do this and not have a plan in place to make it happen.” Therefore, I did the most asinine thing possible. I told them that I was BETA launching my first webinar next week and I was making it available at three different times. I was looking for people to give me feedback on my webinar content and the delivery of said content.

Once I put it out there, there was no taking it back. For the next 4 days we spend long hours fine-tuning our presentation and ultimately delivered as promised. The feedback we got was extremely positive and enlightening. The added bonus was that I did get 1 of my BETA viewers to sign up for the next portion of the webinar series.

The point I am trying to make here is that there are times when you have to take a leap and trust that everything will come together. If I hadn’t put myself out there with a commitment to deliver as promised, I would probably still be procrastinating today.

Biography

Danna is a Business Growth Strategist and CEO of MarketAtomy, LLC. Her passion is working with small first stage entrepreneurs to ensure that they start out on the right foot and stay on the path to financial freedom. Known as the Business Birthing Specialist, Danna understands the intricacies involved in starting and running a successful business. As an intricate component ingrained into her client’s business structure, she works diligently to keep her clients accountable and on track to fulfilling their success goals.

A graduate of the University of Central Florida’s College of Business. She brings more than 35 years of strategic planning experience in business, marketing and business development both nationally and internationally.

Danna is not only a professional business growth strategist but has worked as an International Strategist within the country of Brazil, is a public speaker and #1 Best Selling Author on Amazon with “Success From The Heart.”

 

 

A Memo To My Perfectionist Self…Sit Down and Shut Up! (Part 2)

Overcoming the FEAR of Public Speaking. Part 2

In my last blog I spoke to you about the life-transforming events that led me down the path to overcoming my fear of public speaking. This week’s blog will focus on the lessons learned during my transformation process.

Research shows that the #1 fear in America is public speaking…beating death as #2. That’s funny to me and amazing. Perhaps its because once you are done speaking you’re still here to suffer the criticism and aftermath, whereas “death”, well what can I say…who gives a crap!

I want to speak to that fellow perfectionist out there. Your perfectionist mentality is what drives your anxiety with public speaking because you won’t settle for anything less than being PERFECT. Yet when you began walking, you weren’t so good and look at you now. We expect to start PERFECT, yet like walking, it is a skill you develop and then master. We perfectionists tend to set our standards so high that they are virtually impossible to reach. If we can’t start out as an “expert” we’d rather not start at all. There are two types of perfectionist.

  • The POSITIVE Perfectionist – generally achievement oriented. These individuals focus on what went right, what can be improved and celebrate just trying.
  • The NEGATIVE Perfectionist – generally failure oriented. These individuals are more concerned about the mistakes, about looking bad, and about what they “should” have done.

To be honest …I have struggled with both types of perfectionist tendencies. There is a quote by Anne Wilson Schaef that resonates with me, “Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” My suggestion, find a happy medium.

Over the past five years I have been going through some huge transformational changes. Coming face to face with a near death experience in 2012 will do that to you. I have come to realize that life is short, why waste it on yourself? I’ve reached a point where I’m able to tell my perfectionist self to sit down and shut up! It has taken a lot of counseling and introspection, but what I am finding is that by just letting myself feel and enjoy the moment without the anxiety of screwing up…I get things right more often than not. When I stop worrying about what others think, I can actually get my point across more clearly.

In closing I’d like to provide you are few personal lesson-learned tips on what to do and not to do when preparing for and giving a speech. These tips don’t relate to any of the tools and resources you will utilize, but rather to the mental anxiety that the perfectionist in you keeps throwing in your path.

  • Don’t memorize your speech word for word. Just read through it several times and get familiar enough within it. You can always use your presentation bullet points to trigger your next points.
    • Why: because you will be so focused on the words, the passion will be lost in the message. Plus if you lose your place, it’s more difficult to get it back.
  • Don’t go off script. Make sure that you continue to follow your practiced outline. For new speakers, I suggest you hold all questions until after your speech.
    • Why: Once again, because it will take too much time to get back into the flow of your speech and you risk the chance of confusing your message.
  • Don’t stand behind a podium and read a scripted speech. Get out from behind the podium; engage your audience by scanning it as you speak. Sometimes picking one or two people and talking to them will eliminate the overwhelming feeling of a larger audience.
    • Why: This is the best way to measure the effectiveness of your speech. Watch the audience’s reaction.
  • Do Practice, Practice, Practice!
    • Why: The most effective way to overcome those performance anxiety jitters is to know your subject matter frontwards and backwards.
  • Do speak only on subject matters that you are passionate about.
    • Why: Because without passion and conviction, you deliver a dull, dead speech
  • Do match your speech to your audience.
    • Why: Because your reputation depends on it. If you are committed to becoming a public speaker, you want the referrals!
  • Respect the audience’s time.
    • Why: Again, your reputation as a speaker depends on it.

My final words on the matter of public speaking are to embrace the role of speaker. This means don’t rush through the speech. Engage the audience and just have fun. It’s just a conversation. What’s the worst that could happen? Nothing at all… if you don’t try. It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone. In the words of Mark Twain, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, NOT absence of fear.” The jitters never go away, they just strengthen your resolve.

Biography

Danna is a Business Growth Strategist and CEO of MarketAtomy, LLC. Her passion is working with small first stage entrepreneurs to ensure that they start out on the right foot and stay on the path to financial freedom. Known as the Business Birthing Specialist, Danna understands the intricacies involved in starting and running a successful business. As an intricate component ingrained into her client’s business structure, she works diligently to keep her clients accountable and on track to fulfilling their success goals.

A graduate of the University of Central Florida’s College of Business. She brings more than 35 years of strategic planning experience in business, marketing and business development both nationally and internationally.

Danna is not only a professional business growth strategist but has worked as an International Strategist within the country of Brazil, is a public speaker and #1 Best Selling Author on Amazon with “Success From The Heart.”

A Memo to my Perfectionist Self…Sit Down and Shut Up!

A Memo To My Perfectionist Self…Sit Down and Shut Up!

Overcoming the FEAR of Public Speaking. Part 1

Face It! There’s no getting around having to speak in public at some point in out lives. Whether for your job, school, networking or any other event you are expected to take the stage and talk…some of us would rather die than be forced to speak.

I am what would be classified as the PERFECT Perfectionist! That’s not a good thing…believe me. The fear of speaking in public began very early in my life. Every time a teacher chose me to read aloud in class I panicked that I would get tongue tied and be laughed at by my classmates. That led me to always sitting in the back of the classroom and trying to blend in so that the teacher never called on me. Those who know me today would never believe that I was a shy, timid child at one time.

My biggest FEAR in life is being embarrassed in front of a bunch of people. As a young teenager I dreamed of becoming a fashion model, among other things. Who would believe that shy, timid child would put herself in a position of being front and center.

Here’s the rub though. Although I retreated from putting myself out there…I faced every challenge put before me head on. That teenage determination was not going to let a little fear of public opinion stand in my way. I was convinced that by being thoroughly prepared I could handle anything.

I put into action my plan for attending finishing classes, etiquette classes…classes on how to walk correctly (yes, walk). My first introduction into the world of modeling was a small local pageant in which there was a talent portion.

Now it’s probably good to mention here that one of my other dreams as a teenager was becoming a singer like Barbra Streisand. So I thought how nice would it be to combine two of my dreams into one! Wrong!

I practiced and practiced and had the song “People” by Barbra down pat. Come the day of the pageant I managed to make it though all of the portions without a hitch until the talent portion. I stood there frozen. I couldn’t remember the first words of the song. My mind was an absolute blank. So much for being prepared – I didn’t take stage fright into account in all of my preparation. That was my first and most memorable introduction to being on stage in front of hundreds of people.

I was totally humiliated. As a result, throughout my high school years I retreated to two of my other dreams, art and writing. Staying out of the limelight I joined the school newspaper and yearbook staff.

My personal opinion is that perfectionism is what drives the fear of Public Speaking in most people. It’s not the fear of speaking…it’s the fear of not being perfect. Think about it. We have been speaking since we were toddlers…the act of communicating is innate. Speaking is not what holds us back. What holds us back is the idea of having to speak in front of others and doing it wrong. What will they think of me? Will they understand? Will they agree or buy into what I’m selling?

I went to college late in my career and studied Marketing and Management Information Systems (database design for those who don’t know) at the University of Central Florida. UCF had a policy that involved incorporating the real life skills required in the business world to prepare their students for life outside of academia. One of these policies involved having to work within teams on projects in every class and presenting (in a formal environment) findings, convincing both students and teachers of our position.

Being the determined Perfect Perfectionist that I was (which included Acing all of my classes), I knew I needed to be prepared and enrolled myself in Toastmasters. This actually was a good thing. Toastmasters helped me get over my fear by constantly forcing me to practice and deliver. In time, public speaking began to become more natural…although never easy. Ask any professional speaker and they will tell you the same thing. It doesn’t matter how many times you speak, the nerves are ALWAYS there before every event. Those nerves are what keep you relatable and transparent. Toastmaster Intl. is an excellent resource for taking the initial steps to taking the stage confidently.

Tune in to Part 2 of “A Memo to My Perfectionist Self: Sit Down and Shut Up!” next week to find out the lessons learned over the many years that I have bitten the bullet and put myself out there in front of my pears. It’s all part of individual growth.

Danna is a Business Growth Strategist and CEO of MarketAtomy, LLC. Her passion is working with small early stage entrepreneurs to ensure that they start out on the right foot and stay on the path to financial freedom. Known as the Business Birthing Specialist, Danna understands the intricacies involved in starting and running a successful business. As an intricate component ingrained into her client’s business structure, she works diligently to keep her clients accountable and on track to fulfilling their success goals.

A graduate of the University of Central Florida’s College of Business. She brings more than 35 years of strategic planning experience in business, marketing and business development both nationally and internationally.

Danna is not only a professional business growth strategist but has worked as an International Strategist within the country of Brazil, is a public speaker and #1 Best Selling Author on Amazon. She currently has 3 published books, one entitled MarketAtomy: What To Expect When Expecting A Business” available through Amazon.

Market and Product Research – Can You Effectively Survive Doing Business In A Vacuum?

market and product research – to what degree should the fear of competitive espionage determine your marketing/pr program?

Good News….Bad News. Which would you like first?

Here’s the good news – business has been tough over the last few years…but the economy looks to be at the bottom and things are starting to look up. Now the bad news – although things are looking up, the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) landscape has changed dramatically within the US and it is no longer “business as usual.”

An industry that for years has enjoyed a robust economic landscape where the competition knew its place and concentrated within niche markets, is now experiencing a blurring of the lines. The market is now driven by hyper-competition; hyper-competition is where too many businesses are pursuing too little business. Large mega companies are pursuing smaller projects that they never would have thought of pursing in the past. Smaller firms are partnering to compete for large projects in an effort to expand their opportunities. There is just not enough demand to go around for everyone.

For years as a marketer within the AEC industry I was continuously warned about “keeping my mouth shut” during networking events and various marketing initiatives. We do not want to tip our hand and let the competition know our business. However, as a marketer my job was also to keep my company’s name in front of the market, which also meant the competition.

Now that I am on my own…I am still faced with the same dilemma. As a small company, strategic and comprehensive public relations is critical to my success. Therefore, I seek to take advantage of every opportunity available to me to keep the DAVNA name in front of my potential clients, and unfortunately the competition. So where does the balance come in?

Strategic Planning and Competitive Intelligence (CI)

To paraphrase Sun Tzu from the Art of War

”Know thy-self, know thy competition, and get it right almost every time. Know thy-self, not know thy competition, and get it right about half the time. Not know thy-self, not know thy competition, and get it wrong almost every time.”

Managing within a hyper-competitive environment involves strategic planning, also called  Competitive Intelligence (CI)a process of understanding the market and where it is going; being able to anticipate what the competition’s approach to the market might be; and strategically positioning yourself ahead of the competition as the market moves through its paces.

Intelligence differs from data collection and information gathering as it requires some form of analysis designed to shed light on what the data/information is telling us. According to the authors of the book The Intelligence Edge, – “Knowledge is what your are after. Information is the raw material you use. Intelligence is what finds and processes information.”

There are two key objectives of an effective CI campaign – the first is to minimize threats  – by gaining a better understanding of what short-term operational initiatives a firm might take to position itself as a leader within its competitive market(benchmarking), the firm can remain aware and responsive to threats as they arise. This reactionary perspective, although CI’sprimary objective, should not be the end all of your CI initiative.  The second objective is to help maximize opportunities –this proactive approach provides the data necessary for finding “low hanging fruit” such as new markets for existing offerings, fresh revenue streams, or other opportunities for the firm to grow and add value for stakeholders.

An effective CI campaign can also help the firm determine expansion into or abandonment of a market by identifying its maturity or potential economic demise. An example is DAVNA’s most recent international expansion efforts, providing International Brokering Services in Brazil, as a result of the recent bid award of the 2014 FIFA and 2016 Olympic games. Through a strategic CI campaign effort, we were able to determine where the immediate opportunities were, the most effective approach to breaking into the market, how DAVNA and our offerings stacked up to the competition, and the immediate market product/service needs. As a result of our CI and subsequent marketing initiative … DAVNA has established itself as a leading expert within the Brazilian market for connecting Brazilian firms with quality AEC products and service providers from the US.

The bottom line…Competitive Intelligence (CI) allows us to effectively strategize our marketing and PR approaches in relation to our competitive environment. It is not an exact science but allows us to stay one step ahead and remain competitive within a volatile market by providing enough information to draw reasonable conclusions to base our strategies upon.

Is that your “final” answer?

Back to our initial question, “To What Degree Should the FEAR of Competitive ESPIONAGE determine your Marketing/PR Program?” The answer lies in the homework done to date and how much your efforts would contribute to “tipping your hand” to your competitors. If your marketing/PR initiatives are strategic, the tipping aspect should only come into play when you already have a counter-action in place.

CI is all about knowing what is going to happen before it happens with a reliable degree of accuracy … and then playing your cards to minimize the impact of such events to the firm. DAVNA can provide you with the expertise and tools needed to strategically plot your success course within a down economy. For more information on establishing a Competitive Intelligence campaign within your organization contact info@davna.com.

DAVNA Enterprises, LLC is a marketing solutions firm dedicated to the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry to improve the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives and keeping marketing professionals apprised of new and upcoming marketing tools and resources.

Strategic Planning – Using Integrated Marketing

Integrated Marketing

To succeed in today’s economic market, AEC firms large and small need to be able to market to their target audience more efficiently and economically than ever before. As marketers we are all aware of the importance of targeted marketing to different generational learning styles and buying habits. Basic marketing 101 teaches that generational marketing takes strategic planning and precision and a keen understanding of the psyche of our target audience, right?

Generational differences present a challenging situation not only in economic consumption but in the work environment as well. The Census Bureau and the National Institute on Aging project that by 2030, close to one-fourth of all Europeans will be over 65 and in North America the projection is for over 20 percent. China and Japan both have serious issues concerning aging, while the life expectancy of working adults has risen to the low 80s. In the AEC environment, we see many designers, engineers and construction professionals working well into their 70s and 80s.

To make things even more confusing, throw in the psychographic variable. Psychographics are any attribute relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyle of a particular group of people. Unlike demographics, which are characteristics of age, gender, and income level, psychographics pertain to the personality of a particular person or group. Confused yet?

When trying to market to today’s AEC business environment we are dealing with a hodge-podge of different generational and psychographic genres. So how do we reach the largest portion of our target audience efficiently and economically? Integrated marketing.

What it is, what it isn’t!

Not your basic integrated marketing, but a riskier, more diverse, more people centric marketing program. The pain of this economic recession is still raw, but companies need to adapt to the new market. If you haven’t been touched by it, you haven’t been playing the game. Life after this recession will not be business as usual… we’re not going to do business exactly the way we did before. The new AEC integrated marketing focus — will be blazed by risk takers.

Efficiency does not mean boilerplate marketing, nor does economical mean low-cost. Today’s integrated marketing program is one that incorporates themed, impactful messages that speak to current issues and trends. It resonates with high-end graphics, less verbiage and promotes solution selling. It is not cheap, but per capita is less expensive because it effectively reaches more of your target audience in their own backyard. More than anything else though, it is carried out through a well defined and strategically planned campaign that incorporates print, video, television, PR, social media, the Internet and promotion.

If you are ready to be bold, we can help.  Whether you need help developing a strategic plan, or assistance with parts of your strategic plan, or you just need someone to keep you on task we can help.  Please contact us to set up an appointment so we can help you get started on your integrated marketing!

DAVNA Enterprises, LLC is a marketing solutions firm dedicated to the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry to improve the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives and keeping marketing professionals apprised of new and upcoming marketing tools and resources.

International Partnership Brokering and Opportunities in Brazil

On the Road Again!

Our International Partnership Brokering efforts continue in Brazil as we bring viable US Architectural, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Technology solutions for the many immediate opportunities ongoing as a result of the upcoming 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.  I just arrived in Rio for my next to last trip this year (5 total in 2 years), to formalize existing partnering agreements and continue to meet with the various key decision-makers to determine the next round of partnering efforts as vertical construction teams are developed. The partnering opportunities include private and public design/build/operate teams for the hospitality, medical, airport and corrections facilities.  In addition of course there is the multitude of equipment that go into these facilities.

Expanding your Business

If you have thought of expanding your business base internationally, this is the perfect opportunity as Brazil continues to struggle to meet the assets and infrastructure required to be able to host these World events.  There are also additional plans for expansion beyond the Olympics, including creating approximately 1 million affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

Some of the current opportunities include:

  • Regional and national airport master planning design firms, contractors, engineers and operators
  • Small to medium hotel flags, operators, construction and materials
  • Hospital design/build/operators (new and renovations)
  • Correctional design/build/operators (new and renovations)
  • Educational design/build teams
  • Technology solutions (IT, Cable, Cellular) … and more

Brazil is also looking for new systems and technology as they are showcased on the World Stage – if you have a unique building system or product that is cost effective, efficient and proven, contact me. By teaming with DAVNA you will have a 24 month head start on your competition!

DAVNA Enterprises, LLC is a marketing solutions firm dedicated to the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry to improve the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives and keeping marketing professionals apprised of new and upcoming marketing tools and resources.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing

Working Together Like a Precision Time Piece

Type in “SEO white paper” into your Google search bar and you’ll get over 8.8 million hits –“Social Media Marketing” will get you over 159 million hits! Thus, if you want to learn more about either, you have plenty of options to choose from (Wikipedia definition links SEO and Social Media Marketing).  The simple truth is that you must optimize your site to be “search engine friendly” for web crawlers, the principle means by which search engines use to gather data about your site to index the pages clients can find you.  In addition, your Social Media Marketing, which includes not only your blog, but participation in social networks (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook etc..) must be written with SEO in mind as they compliment each other.  Clever copy, cute anecdotes, case studies and real life stories are great ways to position yourself as an expert in your field; expressing yourself in a regular blog and letting people know your opinion based on experience is the point, BUT … if you don’t do both with SEO in mind, sadly you might have the greatest site/product/service in the world, but no one will know!

It’s Easy to Learn….Hard to Master

As with many things in life, understanding at a conceptual level is easy, but to get something done typically requires a level of mastery.  Flying a glider plane involves just riding on air currents right? I understand the concept, but know it would take some time between deciding that I wanted to do it, and being able to fly solo….and survive.

The same concept  applies to Social Media and SEO mastery. Everyone understands that you must have a web site if you are in business, yet don’t fully realize and take advantage of the total package that a website and internet brings – your web site is a 24/7 marketer for your company!  Instead of developing a web site with specific intent as a result of strategic planning in mind, a lot of firm look at a website as “oh yeah, we need to have a web site…how quick can we get that?” Others acknowledge that they need a web site done right and accept the fact that their business isn’t building web sites and take the opportunity to outsource this piece of their marketing strategy.  As your earlier search demonstrated, there are many companies whose only product is providingSEO and Social Media Marketing services. Why not tap into their expert knowledge … allowing you to concentrate on what you do best.

How Are YOU Getting the Message Out?

Do you currently have a web site?  Is it easy to update, or do you need to go to your web master to do it? Is your web site search engine optimized?  Do you know how to check? Do you have a blog?  Do you know that updating your blog can attract search engine crawlers that are always looking for new content?  Do you know that posting responses on other business sites could drive traffic to yours if done properly?  Do you know you can get a “free web site analysis” ? – (type that into your Google search bar and you’ll get over 422 million hits)…and lots of calls and offers for Site Analysis service! All of this information is readily available on the internet, in books, eBooks, subscription web sites etc. But wait…you are thinking that after a little research you can actually do it yourself, it really isn’t that complicated.  If however, you have already gone there…done that and you have come to the realization that you are too busy doing what you do best and you just do not have the time to do it right, give us a call. We can boil it all down to a specific action plan for your business We will look at where you are today and stack it up to where you want to be. We can help you design a roadmap to help you get there!  Send us an email or gives a call at 407-405-6410.

DAVNA Enterprises is a marketing solutions firm dedicated to the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry to improve the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives and keeping marketing professionals apprised of new and upcoming marketing tools and resources.  This article contributed by David Olivo, Davna Chief Technologist.

Branding Strategy and the Art of Storytelling

Creating Brand Awareness

Recently I attended a business networking breakfast where the guest speaker was a professional “storyteller.” What occurred to me as I was drawn in … listening to his amazing story, is that even with all the years of marketing and business developmentexperience I have and understanding the importance of having a Branding Strategy to create brand awareness, there is still so much more to learn!

Storytelling within the marketing environment is a fairly common approach to developing and communicating a brand. Remember growing up…hearing the traditional nursery rhymes and stories like the “Three Little Pigs” and “Cinderella”. How about “Goldilocks and the Three Bears?” What common theme ran through all of these stories? Was it the battle between good and evil? Who always won? The GOOD guys, right?

Within the AEC environment storytelling is utilized over and over again to communicate that all-important message…”I am the BEST! No one else can bring to the table what I can.” Not only do we integrate our story into the overall corporate culture of our business, but also we weave it into our RFP responses and presentations as we pursue new work.

Brands are built around stories, they identity who we are, where we come from and if formulated correctly, provide insight as to where we are going. A good story has the power to engage…your audience, customers and employees. Just like the old nursery rhymes we all grew up with, a good story carries with it the ability to motivate and take action. So what is YOUR story?

Connect With The Audience

When developing your story, whether it is to present your company to potential clients or to present your approach to a particular project, there are two key concepts to keep in mind.

  1. Keep it real – Sometimes referred to as being transparent or being genuine. Don’t try to embellish the story-line to make it more interesting. You aren’t doing your listeners any favors by stretching the truth or insinuating something that is not there.  Also, don’t compromise your morals because you want to be accepted by the crowd, instead support your opinions without worrying about fitting in or the opinions of others. Remember your audience and target your story to them, not the masses.
  2. Make it relatable – Although stories in general are reflections of past experiences…addressing these life lessons in context with current experiences are what draw the listener in. In business, the purpose of story telling is to either give the listener some insight as to how your firm can meet their future needs, or to take them on a journey into how you would provide a solution for meeting their particular project or service need today.

Understand Your Motivation

When developing your story ask yourself four questions:

  1. Why does my story matter? You may think it matters but does the audience really care? This goes hand and hand with understanding your audience and telling them a story they’d connect with… emotionally. Think about it, the purpose of storytelling in business is to persuade the audience to act…this requires emotion. Therefore, connecting emotionally with the audience with your story is key to success in business.
  2. What’s the point? What’s the purpose of the story? To teach something or to encourage action? Is it to share an experience that changed you or set your firm on it’s current path? This is your focus – you should be able to define this with only a few words.
  3. Why am I telling the story? Again look to the purpose of your story. Is my motivation to draw the audience into why I am the best person for the job, or is it merely to boast about my accomplishments? Content is derived from experience and a willingness to share a life lesson, not to seek attention. So what’s your motivation behind the story?
  4. What does this story say about my firm or me? Does it shed a positive light on my company and myself? Does it give the audience a glimpse into who I am or what my company does? Does the story flow providing a clear path or does it jump around, confusing the listener?

Build The Story

Just like the childhood stories of years ago, your story should be able to sustain the test of time. What I mean by that is that your story should have strong roots… reflective of the core values that you or your company hold true. It should provide direction and insight as to what motivates and drives your existence and…it should provide specific examples in produce or service offerings.

Think about your story as it relates to a tree. The illustration below should help you visualize the storytelling process and how it relates to business and personal story development.

Taking the Story into the 21st Century

One last element to consider while developing your story is to consider the benefits of adding video and interaction to your story. Call it “multimedia” storytelling if you will – here is where characters and stories reach beyond the confines of the written/spoken word into video and the Internet. Here, your story can take on a whole new life and level of participation from your audience. The web is allowing us to immerse ourselves in stories more deeply than ever before.

AEC firms across the country are utilizing video and the Internet to reinforce and back up their branding message. Whether it is through testimonial videos, community awareness documentaries, or social media and  project development blogs and video, AEC firms are bringing their stories to their audiences in this more compelling and engaging manner.

What IS Your Story?

So the question remains…What Is your Story? Does it stand the test of time? Is it big enough and believable enough to influence, persuade and motivate?

Does it invoke passion? People are more likely to buy from someone genuinely passionate about their business – they can pick up the underlying tones…is this a LIFE choice or a JOB choice?

DAVNA’s story is one that has grown and developed over time. The plot remains the same…to assist Architectural, Engineering and Construction companies in opening new doors and finding new work. Our delivery and methodology has evolved to adjust to changing economic and market conditions. If you are struggling to find your place and creating strategic direction, DAVNA can help. Contact us at info@davna.com.

Branding Strategy: Marketing – More Than Meets The Eye

Last time I went to a show in the Amway Arena in Orlando I couldn’t help but notice the staging, lighting, graphics and everything that went into this massive production. Every little detail reinforced and built upon the theme of the entire concert perfectly. Although the artists are amazingly talented, the imagery just enhanced the experience exponentially. I can only imagine the amount of effort and planning that went into putting this whole production together.

Creating Brand Awareness

Much has been written about the need to sell not just a service or product, but theexperience to the client. I wholeheartedly support this philosophy and I believe this is what creating brand awareness is all about and why having a branding strategy is critical. Focusing on selling just a product or service puts all the pressure on price as the key point of differentiation in the purchase equation, something our industry has been guilty of for far too long.  Though, the AEC industry is extremely price sensitive, especially in the public sector, the brand awareness brought to the bargaining table can often be the tipping point in the selection process as in a sense, the customer already knows what they are buying… they already know what to expect.

In the AEC environment marketing is more than the development of pretty collateral material and well-constructed words…it is atotal experience. In the service environment the experience is what sells. In our efforts to establish and maintain a customer-centric mindset that crosses the boundaries into the services domain, the essence of marketing demands a complete understanding of the real needs of the customer—a marketing concept that is truer today than ever before.

Today “good” quality is the minimum price of entry into today’s competitive game. Unless your firm has an exceptional product or service that can sell itself, like a prototypical design or construction method, simply competing on a “good” product or service won’t give you any serious advantages over your competition.

Clients want to feel that you have a vested interest in their needs – that you stand to lose as much as they should you NOT provide the service they desire or need. How? By gaining a better understanding of their requirements and defining appropriate responses to their problems. By translating the service value proposition into a satisfying delivery experience, by demonstrating an in-depth knowledge and awareness of their needs. The solution is locked in service concepts that are reproducible and profitable and that enable you to meet and even exceed the client’s expectations.

It doesn’t have to cost more!

Focusing on the experience carries all sorts of tangibles and intangibles with it, some that are highly personal and others not. Some involve additional resources while some are reflected in attitude, professionalism and enthusiasm at little or no cost. The key is taking a holistic look at the overall experience that you would like the client to walk away with. This can’t be achieved with a segmented marketing program, it needs to encompass the entire marketing event including lights, staging, graphics and performance.

Contact us to find out how we can help you develop and implement YOUR Branding Strategy

DAVNA Enterprises, LLC is a marketing solutions firm dedicated to the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry to improve the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives and keeping marketing professionals apprised of new and upcoming marketing tools and resources.