Monday, October 18, 2021

Tips to Establish Your Digital Brand

Over the last 12 years, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, leadership, and customer experience experts. One of these experts is Zen Yinger from North Carolina. We recently had a discussion about marketing, and highlights follow below Zen’s bio.

Zen Yinger is the CEO of ZenSocial, and as a digital marketer for over a decade, she loves to help technology and cybersecurity companies and C-Suite teams begin and scale their digital presence to become thought leaders within their industries. She also coaches entrepreneurs and professionals who are in the process of making a delayed entry into the digital world. She has been recognized in Onalytica’s Top 100 for Social Media Marketing Influencers and Top 100 PR Influencers. Also, she is passionate about #WomensAdvocacy #WomenSupportingWomen #HeForShe and #TechForGood. Her website is; her Blog is; and she can be found on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram/Pinterest as Zen Yinger.

QUESTION: On your website, you wrote about the importance of, "Establishing your brand as an industry expert, promoting your thought leadership and keeping your communities, brand advocates, and clients coming back for more." What key ways do you recommend accomplishing this?
ZEN YINGER: When it comes to building your social authority, it’s all about ‘show – don’t just tell.’ By sharing relevant information, your thoughts, and insights consistently; engaging with your community by participating in social chats, and through meaningful engagement, you begin to build your community of peers, fans, brand advocates, and prospects who become clients. If you are genuine and do your best to help folks without the hope for a get (aka, something in return), you become a well-respected member of your community. As I discovered when I first began my journey with social media, “The Power Of Your Community Will Make Your Brand The Next Big Thing.” It was true a decade ago, and just as true today.

TWEET THIS: If you are genuine and do your best to help folks without the hope for a get, you become a well-respected member of your community. -@ZenYinger #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: Many people remember the famous OREO Tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl. With that in mind, what's your favorite social media marketing campaign?
ZEN YINGER: B2C brands get a much better opportunity to use creativity and visual marketing to their advantage to connect with their audiences through high impact, high recall, social media marketing campaigns.

It’s time we see more B2B brands create high impact, high recall social media marketing campaigns. That said, I loved Coke’s #ShareACoke campaign and Dove’s #ShowYourself campaign with messages that were simple, yet they connected deeply with me. The Zoom Background Competition via Twitter last year was fun too.

QUESTION: What's your favorite marketing or social media buzzword, and why?

#Organic Content: Non-paid branded content which is how brands used to post and engage on social media, to be social instead of “doing social” via paid content. Unfortunately, brands have to pay now for impressions and reach on most social networks, because social media algorithms have started showing only a tiny percentage of organic content to a brand’s community.

On Twitter, I often use #WomenSupportingWomen #HeForShe #MarketingTwitter #socialmedia #digitalmarketing and #Marketing hashtags. I also LOVE using emojis whenever relevant, especially during Twitter conversations (or in Twitter speak, convos).

QUESTION: What's your least-liked marketing or social media buzzword, and why?
ZEN YINGER: I do not like the buzzword #hustle that many marketers use. I prefer the word being in the "#flow," which is when we are working at our best using less energy, more receptive to creative solutions, achieve positive results and greater success.

QUESTION: What do you think will be the central focus of our social media marketing discussions a year from now?
ZEN YINGER: All through 2021-2022 and beyond, we are going to experience a marketing makeover with our digital world adapting to a post-pandemic target audience which has adapted to a new remote work or hybrid environments. People all over the world have developed new habits, with accompanying new wants and needs.

Brand marketers will need to do more social listening, engage more to understand, so they don’t drop the ball on clear and effective messaging to connect with their post-pandemic audience.

There will be a massive uptick in social media customer service, where even smaller brands will have to join the digital world and be available 24/7 if they want to keep their clients/customers happy. Almost everyone will have to become digitally savvy to navigate our ALWAYS ON digital world.

TWEET THIS: Brand marketers will need to do more social listening to connect with their post-pandemic audience. -@ZenYinger #BrandTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My thanks to Zen for sharing her social media marketing insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

Monday, October 11, 2021

What Makes Effective Leaders?

Over the last 12 years, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, leadership, and customer experience experts. One of these experts is Wally Bock from South Carolina, who I first met via Twitter back in 2010. We recently had a discussion about leadership, and highlights follow below Wally’s bio.

Wally Bock is an award-winning author and blogger. He writes the popular Three Star Leadership Blog, and his Writing Edge Blog has more than 1,000 posts on how to write a book you can be proud of. His eBook, Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time, has 347 tips to help you do a little better every day, and is available on his Three Star Leadership site. Wally’s book Now You're the Boss: Making the Most of the Most Important Transition in Business is available as a paperback and eBook on Amazon. He works with clients as a coach and writing partner to create great business books, and some of the books have won awards and become bestsellers. Follow on Twitter @WallyBock.

QUESTION: Since the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020, how has it impacted the role of leadership?
WALLY BOCK: The move to remote working exposed a lot of incompetent managers. There were (and are) too many managers that can only judge by the activity they see. When their team members are out of sight, those managers didn’t know what to do.

Every leader was tested because work still had to be done and team members still had to be supported, even though the pandemic changed a lot about the work environment. The pandemic added other stresses. There was the flu, and the threat of illness. Some people were suddenly working from a home filled with other family members. Others were suddenly cut off from normal contact with others.

QUESTION: What three traits define a good leader?

WALLY BOCK: I think studying traits is a colossal waste of time. A trait is a “distinguishing characteristic” according to Merriam Webster.

I think it makes more sense to look at the behaviors of effective leaders. Effective leaders touch base a lot and communicate their core leadership message constantly. Effective leaders set clear and reasonable expectations and deliver consequences of good and poor performance. Effective leaders protect their team and teammates and help them grow and develop.

TWEET THIS: Effective leaders protect their team and teammates and help them grow and develop. -@WallyBock #Leadership #EmployeeExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: How do you recommend people who aren’t in a leadership position, or don’t have a leadership title, make a difference in the workplace?
WALLY BOCK: Do excellent work and help others do excellent work. Have the courage to speak up.

QUESTION: How can a President/CEO become an organization's number one brand ambassador?
WALLY BOCK: If we’re talking about CEOs, the term “brand ambassador” is one of those trendy phrases that obscures reality instead of illuminating it. The CEO represents the company to the outside world, but so do salespeople, customer service reps, repair techs, and a host of others. The CEO’s role is to set the tone, training, supervisors, and rewards, so that all those people and others who never work directly with customers can do good work.

QUESTION: How can a President/CEO create a culture that inspires its employees?
WALLY BOCK: I don’t think you “create” or “build” culture. Culture is an emergent property of millions of actions. The CEO’s challenge is to decide what he or she should do so the people at the company can do good work. That often means: paying ruthless attention to who gets hired, how they are trained, and how they are supervised. It always means setting the example.

QUESTION: One of my favorite leadership quotes is from author and consultant Mark Herbert (@NewParadigmer on Twitter): "Leadership doesn't require you to be the smartest person in the room. It requires you to block and tackle for others." What does this quote mean to you?
WALLY BOCK: The job of any boss from CEO to a first line supervisor is to help the team and team members do good work today and better work tomorrow.

TWEET THIS: The job of any boss from CEO to a first line supervisor is to help the team and team members do good work today and better work tomorrow. -@WallyBock #LeadershipTip #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My thanks to Wally for sharing his inspiring leadership insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Image Credit: Krakenimages via Unsplash.

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Alignment Between Customer Experiences and Marketing

Over the last decade, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege of meeting a myriad of amazing marketing, branding, customer experience, leadership, and social media experts. One of these experts is Dan Gingiss from Chicago. We recently discussed customer experience marketing, and highlights follow Dan’s bio.

Dan Gingiss is an international keynote speaker and customer experience coach who believes that a remarkable customer experience can be your best marketing. His 20-year professional career has consistently focused on delighting customers, spanning multiple disciplines including customer experience, marketing, social media, and customer service at companies such as McDonald’s, Discover and Humana. Dan is the author of two books, The Experience Maker: How To Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait To Share (released in September) and Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media. He also hosts the Experience This! podcast and The Experience Maker Show, and was a regular contributor to Forbes. Check out his website at, and follow on Twitter at @dgingiss.

QUESTION: Your website features this quote: "A Remarkable Customer Experience Is Your Best Marketing." How can a brand accomplish this on a consistent basis?
DAN GINGISS: When we create positive experiences for our customers, they naturally want to tell other people about them. This is because most of the experiences that we have with brands are average at best, and no one talks about average. The good news is that it's not very hard to differentiate your brand based on customer experience. It simply requires looking at every interaction your customers have with the company, and focusing as much time (and money) on your existing customers as you do on acquiring new ones.

QUESTION: Those of us who live in the marketing and customer experience worlds have heard the Jeff Bezos empty chair story many times. What does this mean to you?

(Check out the story here:
DAN GINGISS: One of the best compliments I received in my professional career was from the chief digital officer of Discover when he recruited me to head up digital customer experience. He said that he had observed me in meetings and that I always had the proverbial customer hat on. I always looked at business problems from a customer perspective. That insight actually changed my entire career path.
The empty chair tactic is great, as are the chairs that literally say “Customer” in Comcast's conference rooms and executive offices. But these become unnecessary when every employee realizes that they have a direct or indirect impact on the customer experience and must think through decisions and implementations with the customer in mind.

QUESTION: Since March 2020, which brands have stood out by providing excellent customer service during the covid pandemic?

DAN GINGISS: Charles Schwab impressed me early on in the pandemic by identifying my brokerage-specific needs (help navigating through a volatile stock market) versus the standard “enhanced cleaning procedures.” Once grocery stores and retailers figured out curbside pickup, that became a convenient enhancement that I believe is here to stay post-pandemic. Medical and dental practices did a great job of reinventing the patient experience as well.
QUESTION: What customer experience metric should every brand use, and why?
DAN GINGISS: Customer retention. Most companies have what I like to call a “leaky bucket,” whereby customers are leaving without even saying why. And usually, they’re headed for the competition. The leaky bucket is extraordinarily expensive, since we all know it costs much more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.

On the flip side, the more customers we can keep, the more revenue we generate both from them and from their referrals. Customer retention is also a great complement to traditional CX measurements like Net Promoter Score because while the latter tells us what the customer says, the former tracks what they actually do.
QUESTION: To quote Marilyn Suttle (@marilynsuttle on Twitter), "The secret to providing exemplary customer service is making it the priority and part of every employee’s job description." Sounds easy on paper, but difficult in execution. How do you execute this?
DAN GINGISS: I’d probably substitute “customer experience” here for “customer service” only because service is a tactical component of CX that not everyone is qualified to provide. But every employee should look at themselves as contributing to the customer experience in some way, and therefore looking for ways to improve that experience by making it simpler, faster, or more convenient. For example, someone in the billing department may never actually talk to a customer, but they should still be looking for ways to make payments easier. After all, why would we want to stand in the way of a customer paying us?!

TWEET THIS: Every employee should look at themselves as contributing to the customer experience in some way. ~@dgingiss #EmployeeExperience #CX #BrandExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: What's your favorite customer experience story?
DAN GINGISS: Well, I make a living as a customer experience storyteller so it’s hard to pick just one favorite! But I’ll choose one from my new book, The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences that Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share:
If you’re like me and travel a lot for work, that means you also stay in a lot of hotels. There’s a dirty little secret about frequent travelers that most of us don’t want to admit: Sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night with absolutely no idea where we are.

“Am I in my bedroom? No, it’s a hotel, but wait...which hotel is it again? Where is the bathroom? And why is it so dark?”

Even if you don’t travel frequently, waking up at night in a strange place can be quite disorienting.

At one hotel I stayed at (naturally, I can’t remember which one), I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. As soon as my feet hit the floor, a motion-activated light turned on from the bottom of the nightstand. It lit the path to the bathroom! Brilliant.

Now, being the customer experience guy that I am, I got down on my hands and knees and examined the light. It surprised me to find that it was a small stick-on light that probably costs fifty cents at Home Depot. Clearly it was not expensive, but it completely changed the experience of getting up in the middle of the night in a dark hotel. That counts as extraordinary in my book. (Literally.)

My gratitude to Dan for appearing on my Blog and for sharing his inspiring customer experience marketing insights.

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.