Saying goodbye is hard to do

It’s never easy to let go of something that’s been a part of you, your work and your life for years.

Brands come and go.
Some last longer than others. Recently Procter and Gamble alluded to saying goodbye to approximately 20% of their brands – the underperforming ones. The ones that didn’t align to the company’s core business and the ones consumers just don’t care about anymore. One of these includes Ivory soap. If you were born before this decade, you know the brand.

Gerry Willis of Fox Business invited me to chime in on this change.
Screen Shot 2014 10 22 at 5.34.40 AM 300x164 Saying goodbye is hard to do.

Watch Interview here

Consumers mourn the loss of brands they love.
Great brand builders know that time heals.
And the story can be reframed.

Change is the fuel of progress.
Stuff that was once relevant is out of style.
Relationships that were inseparable lost their passion.
Popular ways of doing things are now obsolete.

What do you need to lose or change to improve your outcome?
Your product.
Your packaging.
Your people.
Your attitude.
Your brand.

Back to Ivory Soap, They’ve been around for 135 years; kids don’t want to use things they read about in their history book. Now if they changed the shape to a smart phone or called it Zombie Suds, they may have a future.

Today’s loss is tomorrow’s gain.

Never quite perfect. The eternal editor is no hero.

Screen Shot 2014 10 15 at 9.35.00 AM 300x239 Never quite perfect. The eternal editor is no hero.
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
Salvador Dali

Some days writing is effortless, fun and comes like breathing, easy and without much effort.

Other days writing can be really hard. It’s like climbing the tallest mountain with no sight of the top and brutal weather beating up every inch of your soul.

The final report, a book proposal, a blog post with the next branding tip, an article, a letter, ad copy or brochure content is no different on either path. The difference in the journey and joy is to not seek perfection. Do your research. Do your best. Give yourself a deadline. Add a period or exclamation and start working on your next masterpiece or victory.

Commit and carry on.

Double dose – has it’s rewards

Screen Shot 2014 10 06 at 11.19.46 AM 300x156 Double dose – has it’s rewards

My good friend and fellow branding buddy Bruce Turkel is an amazing writer and talent. I’ve been reading his blog  ever since we met at a comedy workshop for the National Speakers Association.

Recently I noticed that I was getting two copies of his blog in my inbox. I pinged Bruce and asked him, “Was this an email error or a smart intentional marketing move?”

Totally planned. The mail system he uses lets him resend the mail to folks who didn’t open it the first time. Here’s the real kicker, the click through on his email/blog after the 2nd hit increased by 8-12% by sending it again.

Makes good sense, right? I know I often mean to open and read his blog… but, I just run out of time in the day. However, that friendly second send get’s my attention and I click through and read it.

I use Mailchimp for my outreach mail service and just learned I can set this feature up too. So if you miss opening my branding blog, you will now get a friendly 2nd reminder.

What else is worth a double or even triple dose?
Repeating a point or as my storytelling coach Doug Stevenson coined, a “Phrase that Pays”, when you give a speech or presentation. By repeating a short, punchy action driven line, he contends the program message will stick to the audience’s mind much easier.

Repeating the name of a person you just met has value too when you struggle to remember names. Just say the person’s name in your conversation back and it sticks.

If you missed any of the messages in my blog this week, print them out and read them again tomorrow. That should help.

Robbery Blamed on Students

Screen Shot 2014 10 01 at 3.33.35 PM 300x217 Shocking robbery blamed on students

There is a growing crime that is aggravating and frustrating business communicators around the globe and unfortunately one of my companies fell victim to this slimy act.

It’s called content scraping.
Your content is basically copied and used on someone else’s site for their search results and credibility benefit. This can be accomplished by a lazy human who cuts and pastes your words into their site. Or it can be done with automated software, owned by equally lame people. Without lifting a finger, your branded, search engine-optimized content appears on some bogus URL or website.

The first type of crime happened to us. Restaurant Branding Roadmap blog is a site that Jocelyn Ring and I run. Our focus is to help restaurateurs build brands. As part of our marketing, Jocelyn was on the social media site LinkedIn, posting discussions about a recent blog article she wrote. As she was reading other posts to learn about what people were having conversations about and what topics of interest were trending, she stumbled on a discussion with the same exact title as her post. So she clicked through… and to her shock, she saw her post verbatim on someone else’s blog with no mention of her name or credit to our site. In fact, the byline was the owner of the site and his blog was also based on restaurant marketing/branding.

Jocelyn immediately reached out to inquire. “Mr. Blogger, your content is a striking resemblance of ours, word for word.” Mr. Blogger was quick to reply saying that he was so sorry because he had interns working for him on social media… and they obviously messed up.

Yeah. . . students thrown under the bus, because he got caught.

So how do you prevent this from happening to you?
There are monitoring methods and software that can help. After doing some research, this article by Kissmetrics.com sums it up well and provides a good list of helpful tools. Don’t be a victim of content scrapers.

https://blog.kissmetrics.com/content-scrapers/

Fashion Week, all about brand building

It’s always been a dream of mine to attend Fashion Week in New York City. Thanks to a local charity auction, it became a reality a few weeks ago. In April, Wheels of Success, a nonprofit in Tampa that provides automobiles for people in need, held their annual fundraiser. Like many charity events, they had a live auction offering some very cool items. The package I bid on and won was two tickets to go to a show at the 2014 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City.

photo fw 180x300 Fashion Week, all about brand building

Fashion Week New York started in 1943 as way to distract from French fashion during World War II, because the fashion industry could not travel to Paris. It was also an opportunity to showcase American designers who at the time were in the shadow of the French Couture houses. Today, New York Fashion Week is the first of 138 Fashion Weeks around the world that kicks off the two main buying seasons, autumn/winter and spring/summer.

Fashion Week in the major markets like NYC, Paris, Milan, London and Berlin are mostly invitation-only events where design houses, fashion brands and their public relations firms invite store buyers, fashion journalists and celebrities to view the new styles, colors and looks that will set the trends for the coming season.

If you are not in the fashion industry, the media, or like me and had an opportunity to snag a ticket through a charity event, you can still attend. American Express Concierge service offers several events ranging from runway shows in their skybox, to private meet and greet events with designers. The costs range from $75-$350 a ticket. I attended two shows, Georgine through the charity package, and Malan Breton, that I purchased through American Express. Another option is to get a gig as a volunteer contact: mbfw_volunteers@cfda.com, or try interning for one of the sponsors, designers or a PR firm.

Georgine 171x300 Fashion Week, all about brand building

Malan Breton 282x300 Fashion Week, all about brand building

My experience at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was a blast. Beyond the runway productions, beautiful models and my sneak preview of next season’s fashions, I gained insight on how an industry like apparel is adapting to change and how non-fashion brands are now getting in on the spotlight of this international trend setting stage.

Since I was in the city for Fashion Week, my friends at Fox News asked me to come by the studio to provide some footage for their affiliate networks about my observations and what I learned about branding trends. Here’s some of what I said and some other interesting finds.

photo fox 225x300 Fashion Week, all about brand building

Fashion Week is a runway for all kinds of brands to take off!
The stage starts with 100,000+ trend and fashion influencers coming to New York City. They’ll add over $25 million to the city’s economy.

7 days of showcasing over 250 designers and savvy brands seeking a connection to the styling crowd will help: journalists pen their stories, trend setters decide what is cool and mass market retailers determine what to knock-off to stock their fast fashion stores.

The critics’ loves and hates, pics and pans direct what is pushed out to consumers and the scan of impact is so much greater than fashion, these style trends will be seen in décor, technology and even food.

The world of fashion influence has a new face.
It’s not limited to the big books of fashion like WWD or Vogue from years past. Today some of the runway’s front row seats were taken by social media tastemakers and bloggers with big fan bases.

You don’t have to be a design house to get in on the action at Fashion Week.
Zappo’s set up recharge stations across the street from Lincoln Center offering weary fashionistas and other industry folks a place to chill, relax and refuel.

Screen Shot 2014 09 21 at 2.57.11 PM 300x275 Fashion Week, all about brand building

Brand visibility never hurts.

Swag, product sampling and placement were alive and well.
My American Express gift bag was full of cool things, my favorite being a commemorative swellbottle.com, the reusable drink container that looks fabulous too. If you’ve not seen these, check them out here. They offer an array of designs, finished in insolated bottles.

Swell 300x144 Fashion Week, all about brand building

Technology and fashion continue to merge.
Samsung was one of this year’s Fashion Week sponsors, showcasing everything from their latest smartphone to their new wearable smart watch at the Samsung Galaxy Lounge. Open Ceremony launched their Intel-powered smart bracelet and other tech brands like Fitbit are partnering with fashion names like Tory Burch. Even Google techies are teaming up with fashion veteran Diane Von Furstenberg – and this is just to name a few. And if you are not that into accessories, just wear a well lit dress by London-based firm CuteCircuit who uses LED technology on its designs to display twinkling lights that react to the wearer’s movement and charge when plugged into a USB. They can also be programmed with customized text or feature designs chosen via the company’s app.

photo dress 225x300 Fashion Week, all about brand building

Had a great time in at Fashion Week and look forward to many more. So as you can see, branding is becoming more important than ever, even when you throw tech companies in the fashion world!

Brand on!

3 Lessons for a bit less stress in life

Screen Shot 2014 09 04 at 9.47.02 PM 300x214 3 Lessons for a bit less stress in life
Stress sucks energy out of people, then they get distracted and don’t produce because they cannot focus on the stuff that makes them productive. Without productivity a professional or entrepreneur can’t generate value, which converts to income and joy, which makes them really stressed.

A lot of stress that we invite into our lives is preventable. But often we don’t invest in small things that when you need them have a big payoff.

Investing in stress reduction.
There are some things in life I really don’t enjoy spending my hard-earned money on. Three that come to mind are tires, parking tickets and any kind of insurance. While I’ve never experienced a blow out on my car or had to spend the night in jail for parking violations, I do have three stories about insurance that I hope you’ll gain from. Investing in insurance has great upside, especially when your bad luck number is called.

1) Luggage does get lost.
Luggage insurance is $7.50
I buy luggage insurance through American Express. Every time I buy a plane ticket they automatically bill my card $7.50 each way. A few months ago I flew Southwest airlines from Tampa to San Diego.  I presented a program on branding for speakers and consultants at the National Speakers Association’s annual conference. I arrived safely, but my luggage did not. With American Express luggage insurance, if your checked luggage is more than six hours late, you can buy what you need for up to $500 and American Express credits your charge card. If my luggage never showed up or was damaged, this coverage also provides additional replacement cost above and beyond what the airline gives you. Most airline replacement policies pay pennies on what you lose.

The low cost and the ease of getting what you need quickly made this insurance work for me.

2) Stuff happens.
Content insurance is pennies compared to replacement cost
I own a condo that I rent out in a Tampa high-rise. Last month, I got text from my tenant at 4 a.m. saying there was a major water main break in the building. He was not exaggerating. A pipe burst on the 10th floor and water flooded like a baby Niagara Falls for several hours down to the first floor lobby. What a mess! The reality is this stuff can happen in your home or office on any given day. Fortunately I had dwelling insurance, my tenant was not so fortunate. He did not have renters insurance, which is very inexpensive. When he moved to Tampa his former policy lapsed. If you rent, make sure your office and home have content insurance.

Watch the flood, this can happen to you.

3) Computers still crash.
Make sure your data and any contractors’ data is being backed up too
Everything is digital today. Accounting records, work product, and photos and videos preserving your important events and memories. My computer has not crashed in a few years, but when it did, I learned my lesson the hard way. I take two measures to back up my files, one on a cloud product called SugarSync. The nice thing about a cloud is you can access your files on the road and from many devices. I also do a daily back up to an external drive that syncs as soon as my computer connects. Here’s the key, even if you have this all set up like I do, sometimes the sync won’t happen. I can’t explain why, just trust me; it’s a good idea to set up a weekly reminder in your calendar to make sure all systems are working and backing up. And if you’ve got contract staff working remotely, make sure they are taking the same measures as you.

Brand on!

Brand Bummers – “What were they thinking or drinking” brand moves

iStock 000025766279Small 300x199 Brand Bummers – “What were they thinking or drinking” brand moves
CNN’s Anderson Cooper created the Ridiculist, where he features questionable news items, actions and interesting people with his signature full on snarky smile. FOX has Bill O’Reilly and his Pinheads, a noble collection of his favorite idiotic personalities doing really stupid things. This week I’m rolling out Brand Bummers, my official list of brands, people and organizations doing things that I scratch my head and go WHY?

If you make it on the Brand Bummer list, don’t take it personal, take some action and ask yourself, is the Branding Diva® right? Is this a pretty lame act, is it helping build your brand’s image or is it diluting all of the other good branding efforts and investments?

Personal brand bummer! Professional image, NOT!
For years I’ve been a support of Tampa Bay WaVE. It’s a start-up organization that provides education, networking and resources to local startups in the Tampa Bay area. This week I received an email announcing a Shark Tank Simulation event. The event sounded great, but what I noticed might not be the most strategic brand building moves for one of the judges. I’m not sure if the organization posted it or Mr. Simpson provided it, but either way this image would not be the #1 choice on my list for reflecting the credibility of the CEO, Troy Simpson or the image of a successful technology company like ProntoNOW.

Screen Shot 2014 08 06 at 12.28.56 PM1 Brand Bummers – “What were they thinking or drinking” brand moves

Brands are built from a collection of experiences and visuals. If you’ve got an opportunity for brand exposure, put your best picture forward that reflects your brand.

Retail brand bummer! I don’t want to carry this brand home.
I’ve shopped at Dillard’s for years and while they aren’t Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus, they are a fashion brand. Fashion is what society leans on to express who we are, fashion reflects our values and sometimes even badges us with a symbol of social status. Dillard’s carries many great fashion brands from Chanel and Ralph Lauren to Calvin Klein. In fact, their tagline is: The Style of Your life, which in the branding world should confirm the essence of the store.

So for the life of me I can’t figure out why for years Dillard’s sends us home with our fashionable purchase in the ugliest shopping bag known to man. Did they buy a 20-year supply and just can’t give them out fast enough? Hey Dillard’s bag buyer, I’m not saying you have to spend tons of money on an amazing bag like Tory Burch’s fabulous bag. I am saying this touch point is just a huge disconnect to who I believe you want to be in the minds of your customers: a style resource, who gets what’s going on in the world of looking good.
photo dillards 300x225 Brand Bummers – “What were they thinking or drinking” brand moves

Brands are built from a collection of experiences. Your packaging should reflect your brand essence.

Banking brand bummer! Please cut down the phone trees.
This next brand bummer is not isolated to this brand category; in fact many big company brands commit this brand sin everyday. I call it phone tree hell, when calling this brand is dreaded more than getting a root canal and calling your experience brutally miserable would be an understatement. My recent culprit is Bank of America. I get a mailer from them letting me know a loan I have will be maturing soon. They provide a 1-800 phone number to call for questions. I call the phone number only to be directed to the wrong department three times, having to explain my story to three different people. The forth time I call I’m assured they will connect me to someone who can help me, I’m transferred again, only to this time get disconnected.

I know you’ve been here. Poorly planned phone trees that are never tested by brand leadership generally suck. If executive leadership experienced what customers do, I believe we’d have more customer-friendly phone systems instead of hopefully cost efficient ones. I suppose I could change banks, but the thought of what I envision would be even worse, not just a root canal, but one without Novocain.

Redphone copy 300x198 Brand Bummers – “What were they thinking or drinking” brand moves

Brands are built from a collection of experiences. The one your customers have on the phone should be as delightful as your interacting with your in-person support team and your product or service.

Brand on!

My social media sabbatical – a worthy break

Screen Shot 2014 08 18 at 12.58.58 PM 300x200 My social media sabbatical – a worthy break

The last 60 days I’ve been MIA from social media. Except for a few random tweets, my social channels have been inactive.

While social media is seductive, persuasive and can influence behavior and actions that impact my economy and help build my brand, I consciously opted out.

WHY?
My plate has been full with other branding projects, speeches and personal obligations that required my brain and bandwidth.

I’ve had an extremely good year, already surpassed my business goals and I wanted quiet time to do some deep thinking and assess what I felt good about this past year and what I needed to improve on or change.  I believe we’ve got to allow this down time to keep our brains fresh and productive.

Is it bad for a business or professional to disengage, ignore fans and friends and shut off their social feeds for an extended period of time?

HECK NO!
Social media takes time and energy. As an entrepreneur or business leader you have to prioritize your resources and keep you eyes laser fixated on your goals.

Here’s my advice.

Do what keeps your train moving forward and your cash flow flowing.

Do what works for your business model. Social media is not a magic wand for everyone or every business. It’s one of many available tools.

Don’t you dare let those crazy, screaming green men make noise in your head, throw guilt into your emotional energy source and distract you from your focus.

If you are still on the fence, ask yourself this.

If you halted your social media participation will your community protest and throw a public fit, cut off your oxygen or erect a billboard in Times Square saying you’re a social slacker or miss you?

I’ve got a social community of over 200,000 contacts, not sure many even knew I was gone and everyone’s profile avatars still look happy.

Take a social media snooze when you need to. Enjoy the moment. Take care of you.

Brand on!

 

Branding Boogie – Five steps to kick up your brand!

Boots 2TV3A2620 300x200 Branding Boogie – Five steps to kick up your brand!
Brand and branding are a part of everyday life, pop culture and even the media. It’s not uncommon to hear a journalist, a high school kid or even a seemingly out of touch, very mature person talk about brands, what they love, hate or the latest news about them. So if the world is brand-driven, why do so many individuals and businesses get the brand-building dance so wrong?

Branding is not rocket-surgery or tango on a tightrope. In fact, the principles behind a great brand are quite simple. Where I see the weakest brands, I also see patterns of missteps that a little planning, practice and discipline can correct.

The stage for any brand, including speakers, consultants, trainers, authors and entrepreneurs have a lot of similar factors to face. Competition is more intense than ever, as buyers are often uniformed and or confused out of their minds and our world is noisier than ever.

Great brands break through all of this chaos.

Your brand, if done right can actually have a powerful affect on your competitors’ brands. When your brand is perceived as memorable and distinct, the competition will appear like a lost guppy in a sea of sameness, standing for nothing special and with no compelling value.

If thoughtfully planned, your brand can turn the uninformed consumer into a smart buyer. In addition, by getting your brand kicking on all cylinders, your other marketing and sales efforts will be so much more effective.

So what are you waiting for?
Get your branding boots on and let’s shuffle through five critical steps of brand building that will improve your bottom line and make new business development easier and more fun.

When I entered into the speaking business in 2000 my tank of resources was bone dry. I had no experience as a professional speaker, and I had just lived through a really bad experience with a dot.com investment that wiped out all of my bank accounts and 99% of my confidence.

Fast-forward 14 years, today I own a successful and rewarding branding firm. I speak professionally, I’m a published author of two books, and lead a consulting practice. I credit my commitment to building my brand as the Branding Diva® as the number one game-changer in achieving these career results and enjoying a very comfortable quality of life.

Here are the steps I took that can be applied to any organization or individual brand. While I love to dance, if you have two left feet, that is no excuse to miss out on having a rocking brand.

Get clear on what your brand is and is not.
Your brand is the sum of all you do. It’s the impression you create from your story, your communications, your behavior and your performance. It’s not your logo. A logo is no more than an elective tool that works for some brands. I don’t have a logo. I do have a look and feel and tone to my branding that resonates on all of my touch points.

Your brand is sum of all you do.
• How you look
• How you act
• How you sound
• And whether or not you deliver on promises

All of your actions matter.
Remember your market is not limited to just buyers of your brand. The image and perception you portray to your employees, yours peers, the media and even your competition count as well.

2) Articulate your brand essence.
Great brands that stick in the mind of buyers are aligned to business goals, reflecting the core values and the personality of the entity or individual behind them. To stay focused, I suggest developing a written document that clearly articulates your brand essence. While this may be the toughest part of creating or updating your brand, it is also the most essential. Without this one-to-two page brand-planning document that clearly summarizes who you are and what you stand for, you will have to work twice as hard while spending more, and you will likely lower your odds of being successful.

I started practicing this step of articulating my brand essence early in my career. As markets changed and as I’ve grown, I update my brand essence annually. Once you have completed your brand essence, all of your big decisions about marketing, operations, your team and even the kind of work you will accept should support this strategic direction.

A strong brand essence or framework document can take many forms. To help develop this document for your organization, I suggest answering the following questions that I’ve used to help craft my brand.

What is your brand purpose?
Your answer should include: your business mission, your vision and your aspirations.

What are your brand values?
Your answer should include: What motivates your actions? What do you believe in?

How would you like to position your brand compared to your competition?
Your answer should address pricing, social and leadership stature.

What are 3-4 adjectives that best describe your brand personality?
Your answer should be traits or characteristics that you live out everyday. In my case, they are: creative, stylish, witty and confident. Initially, limit your list to 3 or 4 descriptive words, as this will keep you focused on the most prominent traits. You can always add more adjectives later.

What is unique about your brand?
Every brand has unique attributes. Unfortunately, many don’t take the time to identify their strongest differentiators and come up with a plan on how to leverage this distinction as a brand platform. Your distinction could be visual elements, a style of work, or even a communication voice.

So what is unique about you? If you are thinking it’s your love for your customers, or that your service is the highest quality, STOP!!! That is totally LAME. Everyone can say that. Dig deeper. Get creative and put the spotlight on a real point of difference about you or add something to your platform that is different. The list of ways to be distinct is endless.

Once you decide what your unique elements are and you consistently present them to the market, they will become your brand assets. Some brand assets can be protected with trademark registration and copyright law. I trademarked my Branding Diva® years ago. This past year I amped up my brand persona and distinction by producing a music video complete with dancers, costumes and a branding jingle I call The Branding Boogie. Every program I give opens with this branded video. Below you can watch how I end my presentations.

step up your brand Branding Boogie – Five steps to kick up your brand!

Need more ideas on: how to be different, read

3) Create a rhythm with a consistent brand voice.
Once you are clear on your brand essence, your brand voice needs to develop. Your brand voice is the consistent body of content, words, and phrases you use to tell your story. When developing a brand voice, word choice and tone are the two most important aspects. Word choice relates to vocabulary, while tone refers to the attitude of your copy. When you write, consider both. A tool I use is a simple page of words I call my brand language. I try to use these words and phrases on all of my content further strengthening the equity of my brand.

Your list can include:
• A tagline
• Words you made up or coin
• A set of names or nouns you call your offerings and services
• Select adjectives

4) The costume matters. Look your brand.
We are a visual society. In fact some communication experts say 90% of a first impression is formed by what people see. This means every ounce of your brand packaging counts and these elements either add to your desired brand identity or dilute it. How you dress, what your business cards looks like, what your website and social media communicate and your choice of photography all matter. This means small details like the image you post on your Linkedin page is a reflection of your brand, your style, your persona and positioning.

Red has always been a part of my brand identity. I always wear red when I speak. This year I added bright red cowboy boots to my wardrobe to further communicate my down-to-earth, Texas-chic and fun style. Go back to your brand essence. Do your visuals align with what is on this brand framework? If not, you’ve got some work to do.

5) Do the branding boogie everyday.
Great and memorable brands don’t happen overnight. They take time. And in the busy and competitive world we all operate in, consistency and frequency are key. One clever, unique act will not build a strong brand. An attractive logo and punchy tagline won’t do it either. You must live your brand essence everyday. Then repeat, repeat and repeat again.

Your brand essence needs to be integrated into all of your touch points. Every single place you interact with buyers, employees, colleagues and even the media is a brand molding touch point. How your voice mail sounds on your phone, what your office looks like, and the promotional things you give away all need to resonate your brand essence.

Without any choreography at all, every business and person has an organic brand. This free-style brand, reputation and image is the by-product of just showing up in the marketplace. This dance will only get you so far and the market will control your destiny.

Why not take the lead?
Be clear on who you are and where you want to go. Take these strategic steps forward, so all of your moves support your brand essence and you perform at your best everyday.

I wrote this article for The National Speaker’s Association Magazine. It was published in their June issue. If you are interested in taking your message to audiences through speaking, writing, training or consulting you should consider joining NSA. I’ve been a member for years and find that it’s one of my most valuable investments in my professional development. This year I will speaking at NSA’s 2014 convention in San Diego in July. For more info on my talk, the organization and convention visit their site.

Brand on!

I was so mad my hair felt like it was on fire.

shutterstock 89747494 300x294 I was so mad my hair felt like it was on fire.
I have a love hate relationship with technology. Yes, it allows us to do amazing things, fast and from virtually anywhere.  It can also cause serious stress when it lets you down.

As a branding speaker and business consultant, I rely on technology to present ideas and content that educates and inspires my audiences. My presentation software of choice is Power Point and while it has certainly contributed to my success, recently it made me furious.

I’m a MAC user, so this issue may not apply to my PC readers. When I present talks on branding, I insert videos into my Power Point deck. I’ve been doing this for years and by clicking the start arrow button they project sound and display video beautifully.

Then one day I’m in front of 100 people. The video I’ve inserted in my Power Point is a critical part of my program. I tested it the night before and the video worked fine. I arrive early to set everything up. I plug into the venue’s projector and sound system with all of the right adapters, and I think I’m ready to roll.

The host introduces me. I click to move my slides forward anticipating that my cool video will play next. I hit that arrow button that always works and nothing happened. Except my heart rate increases so much, I feel like a heart attack may be next instead of the video playing.

I tried again. The resident IT support showed up and they tried too. Nothing worked.

How could this happen? Who at Microsoft did I piss off?  Was it the driver that was tailgating me yesterday that I shot a not so ladylike gesture to, could they have put the technology voodoo curse on me?

I hate to admit this, but I was definitely shaken by this malfunction. I tried to keep my confident persona present and deliver my content. I got through it without shoes being tossed at me, but no doubt this was not one of my finest presentations.

And I hate when that happens.

As soon as I got back to my hotel I called Microsoft support. “How could this happen?” I screamed.

A calm, gentle voice from some place far away replied, Ms. Post please tell me what version of Power Point is this file in?

With the same hair on fire voice, I said, PowerPoint 97-2004

That’s the problem he said. There are bugs in the older version.

Here’s the crazy thing, I have the newest version loaded, but somehow I either opened an old program version to file my new presentation or accidently saved it back.

The lessons here are:

Always work in the latest PowerPoint from Office 2011, the title will end in .pptx, not .ppt.

Screen Shot 2014 05 31 at 12.12.22 PM 300x124 I was so mad my hair felt like it was on fire.

I also learned that the current version of PowerPoint is not perfect either. Should this issue of can’t play the movie you inserted properly thing happen to you too, be aware that in the Office for MAC 2011 version, sometimes the microsoft.powerpoint.plist gets corrupt.

If you encounter a moment like I did and you are about to potentially deliver a less than killer presentation because of your PowerPoint is not functioning properly, try this.

Just for MACs

1:Quit all the Office Applications

2: Click On GO in your top menu bar

3: Hold the Options key and click Library

4: Select Preferences

5: Look for Com.microsoft.powerpoint.plist and move to the trash

This process will automatically create a new plist Preference, wiping out the corruption and any “ruin a good day” ghosts that were causing you the issues.

In closing, unless you move to planet perfect, technology snafus will happen. Be bigger than them, don’t let them spook you and throw you off your game. Have plan B in your back pocket and do your best!

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