The Startup You Economy: Creating Your Footprint

Do you exist?  The context of my statement is not do you have a pulse and is blood pumping through your veins, but where and how do you exist.   Everybody has a footprint. It validates your identity in the real world, it can position you as a thought leader, it provides information about you and represents the size of your online and offline presence.   The real question is what information can people determine about you by reviewing  or engaging you within your footprint?  The word footprint is definited as an impression, mark, or something that identifies.  In the real estate industry you commonly hear the phrase: ‘location, location, location.’

In the Startup You Economy I will refer to, ‘location, location, location’ as:  (1) mental, (2) digital and (3) geographical real estate.  Let’s now dig into the three types of real estates.

1. Mental Real Estate

The average person will be exposed to over 3,000 marketing impressions per day.  People are bombarded with information everyday.  In 1970, Alvin Toffler popularized the term, ‘Information Overload’ in his 1970 book, Future Shock. In Wikipedia the term is defined as, ‘the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information.’  One of your goals should be to establish a strong enough brand that cuts through all the noise and to establish a strong signal with the customer you are targeting.  You overall goal is own a slice of mental real estate in the mind of your end customer so when they need your solution you become the first and only option in their mind.

How do you start to accomplish this goal?  I recommend establishing 3-5 touchpoints (points of engagement) with people that you are looking to develop a business relationship with.  The touchpoints should be across multple mediums/platforms: face-to-face meetings, email, video/TV, written blog post or presentations.  There are various levels of engagement with each medium.  Over time your target customer will become more comfortable with you because they will learn more about you with each point of engagement.

2. Digital Real Estate

24/7.  Every second of every day knowingly or unknowingly we are making impressions that will positively or negatively impact our personal and business brands. We live in a global economy that never sleeps so there is always somebody looking at your online presence and making decisions on whether they want to do business with you or to establish a business relationship based upon their first impression.  One of the key benefits of the social web is that it eliminates geography and reduces the time that it takes to do business with someone.

Key Points

  • Think in Sound bites:  Make sure your tweets are 120-characters with links and content that people want to share.  Create short blog post which allow you to post more frequently versus ong blog post infrequently.  Quality is always first, but you want to have more impressions.
  • Create a Content Development Strategy:  Your strategy sould include your blog and microblogging sites (i.e. Twitter).  Part of your content development strategy should include sharing photos via a photo sharing app like instagram that captures the moment. and allows you post visually and more regularly.
  • Media Ready About Page:  Your about page should be media ready:  (1) written in the third person that provides links to your current media (TV and articles)
  • Online Hub: Establish an online hub that you own (i.e. http://hajjflemings.com) and drive all your traffic to.
  • Social Content: Make your information social and sharable (i.e. Facebook Likes, Twitter Meme’s, and other share buttons.)
  • Multiple Platforms: Information should be available across multiple mediums and platforms (YouTube – video content, WordPress – written blog post, and Facebook and Google Plus – status updates)

3. Geographical Real Estate

The third location is geographical real estate.  You have probably heard the term Hyperlocal.  Hyperlocal marketing centers around a clearly defined physical community that you target and are a part of.  Every single person should look to position themselves in their own local market, for me that is Metro Detroit.  You want establish yourself as the go to person.   When your local media needs a subject matter expert someone with deep domain knowledge you should be the first person they call.

In the Startup Your Economy hyperlocal marketing is at the epic center of individual business leaders/entpreneurs establishing themselves as thought leader in their geographic location.   So when the national media is looking for cool stories within your market, they seek to identify people who have done a good job locally. The problem is that most people want to be national stars but you position yourself nicely from a local standpoint you can create a tremendous amount of national exposure.  The reverse is very difficult to do unless you get a big break.

Key Point:  Think about your points of differernation within your local market.  How do you position yourself?  For example, Phil Cooley owner of Slow’s Bar B Q is not just a resturant owner, he is now consider a, ‘Revitalization Avodcate’ because of the the impact of his resturant in the city of Detroit.

 

Hajj Flemings

Featured in - CNN’s Black in America 4. CEO/Co-Founder of Brand Camp University Brand Camp University