Editor’s note: As a Leadership Development Academy alum (Class of 2013-14), Linda Ross is passionate about the mission of the organization and enjoys working as Executive Director/Program Facilitator. Wisdom acquired at LDA empowers her to continue her success in business. She is excited to work with others to obtain their leadership goals.
Marketing and branding. Most people think they don’t need to know about them to do their jobs and to get by in life. The Leadership Development Academy participants found out how wrong they are with this thinking. Marketing and branding surrounds us everyday and affects many decisions we make. Knowing about them can help us make better decisions and influence others. Meeting at ANGI Energy Systems for our February session was outstanding.
What brand do you think of when you think of stopping for a good cup of coffee? A quick bite on the run? Watching a movie? Eric Kuznacic, from Why the Fuss? Technical Solutions presents, “Brand Building with Social Media.” This session helps the class have a better understanding of what branding is and how to use it. Several in the class were thinking of Starbucks for a cup of coffee. Creating a strong brand, Starbucks does a great job of presenting the same cup of coffee at each of their locations. Branding, used in each one of the team projects, is important to understand if you want to use it correctly.
Guiding the class through developing a set of core values, Eric explains how they are part of the organization’s/project’s DNA. It defines what you stand for. He also shares 10 rules of building a strong brand on social media. The rules are: consistency, a strong logo, colors, voice and style, be a human, limit plugs, tell stories, transparency, be relevant and use visuals. If you are missing any of these, your brand will not be as strong as it needs to be.
Tim Storm shared that he was looking for something he could do, that served a need he saw, that he could fulfill. He started an online user community for coupons and shopping deals, Fat Wallet, in a spare bedroom in 1999. Ten months later, he quit his “real” job to follow his dream. Learning the power of the third power endorsement, Tim used it to his advantage. When hiring employees, he was convinced you can train job skills, but it is very hard to train integrity. From this he created the core values of Fat Wallet. They are integrity, commitment, change, passion, balance, respect and fun. Carrying these values into their culture, the slogan, “Work shouldn’t suck!”, was created.
Tim believes no one should ever use work as an excuse to miss a life event, such as your child’s kindergarten graduation. Staff was taught to walk the walk, and talk the talk. Fat Wallet was voted one of the best places to work in the United States while Tim was at the helm (#20 in 2010 and #13 in 2011). He sold the company in 2011.
Recommending his top four books, Tim’s new favorite is, Anything you Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers. The next is, Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. The third and fourth, Purple Cow and What to do When It’s Your Turn: (and It’s Always Your Turn), both by Seth Godin. He encouraged the class to keep reading and learning each day.
Welcoming the class and giving a brief overview of the great things they are working on was Jason Lund, President of ANGI Energy Systems. ANGI is a premier supplier of gas station equipment for alternative energy, namely compressed natural gas.
The group took a tour of ANGI’s plant, led by some great tour guides. The facility is extremely clean and everyone is very friendly. We saw CNG components that were being built to ship to many places in the world. It was an amazing tour and we are grateful to have experienced it. Following the tour, ANGI provided the class with a delicious lunch from Qdoba.
ANGI Energy Systems is a Platinum Sponsor of the Leadership Development Academy. We are thankful for their support and partnership.
In the afternoon, participants worked on the marketing and branding of their projects. Helping with marketing advice were experts, Katrina Bird from First Community Credit Union, Erin Clausen from Hendricks Commercial Properties, Jen DeGarmo from FIDO, and Helen DeMuth and Kristin Zeilinger from Fetch Graphics.
Team Rockin’ Top Shelfers are working on a project to support Project 16:49, financially and through legislation.
Working on a project to provide a new snack program for the Janesville Boys & Girls Club, is Team BLAWH.
Team R C R S is working on a project called First Light. This project will support first responders, who need to help those who are in critical situations, find a place to spend the night.
Filling a school bus with diapers to donate to Caritas and renovating a room for a diaper bank is Team 5 4 Community.
Team Rock Strong is landscaping and building a community garden for the new GIFTS Men’s Shelter.
Each Leadership Development Academy project team is equipped to have a strong, effective branding and marketing plan. Participants have an understanding of how core values make a huge difference in their organizations and projects. Using the tools they have acquired, they can go back to their companies and generate success. Marketing and branding…Important, influential and effective.
The Leadership Development Academy of Rock County is an opportunity to learn about our local history, economy, arts and government. Realize your potential to make a difference in your community! Learn more about LDA.