Pick a side.

It’s 2018 and the tides are changing once more. Where do you stand? #TonnishasTipoftheMonth

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It’s 2018 and the tides are changing once more. We can check our history books and speak to our elders for proof that when injustices are brought to the horizon, eventually, you have to pick a side. In some cases, there is a very define line between the right side, and the completely wrong side. While in others, it is not.

Let’s take a look back at a moment that will certainly go down in history…

It’s the 2016 NFL season and Colin Kaepernick begins to take a knee during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality and the injustices that people of color face on a daily basis. (Fun fact, he first started sitting during the anthem but was told by a U.S. Veteran that kneeling was more appropriate. I also want to note that Kaepernick is not the first athlete to make a “political stance” but for the sake of my point, we’re going to focus on him.)

I’m sure at this point you’re wondering, “why is this your tip of the month and what does this have to do with my business?”

I’m glad you’ve asked…

Yesterday, it was announced that Colin Kaepernick alongside Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr., and Shaquem Griffin, are the faces of Nike’s 30th Anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. The internet was clearly divided on this and some even threatened to boycott the brand. While others, including myself, applauded them.

Nike has clearly taken a stance on how they feel about Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem. This “decision” has even sparked a statement from the president who has made it clear he is not a fan of Kaepernick or any other athlete who decides to kneel during the anthem.

So what does this mean for Nike?

They have made a very bold move that essentially has divided their customer base. Do I believe they will take a loss? No. Do I believe that they TRULY are riding for Kaepernick? I don’t know.

One thing we can probably agree on, is that they did their did research, pulled numbers, and came to an informed decision where they understand the pros and cons about how this could impact their market share. We can conclude that overall, this was a good business move for the brand that majority of leadership has agreed on.

What does this mean for small businesses?

I’m not saying that you need to shout from the rooftop your political views. However, I am telling you to pick a side.

If someone is wearing your brand and posts a video of themselves kneeling during the anthem, how would you feel? Or what if they were protesting a Planned Parenthood? Or what if they were arrested for a hate crime?

It may sound outrageous to think of all of these scenarios. But let’s remind ourselves what happened to Pepsi and Dove. A small “mishap” could truly become a bad press day for your company.

Why do you need to pick a side?

You shouldn’t need to think too long and hard about what you would do if any of those scenarios were to occur. I know we all want to keep politics a secret and out of business and sports alike, but the reality is, we cannot. You should have a clear understanding of your personal values.

Our customers truly WANT to support businesses that care about them. If you want to play it safe and down the middle then please, be my guest. But you may be involved in a scenario where you will be forced to pick a side and I hope you are ready to do so with pride.

As for me, I’ve chosen a side.

TJE Communications and it’s subsidiaries has not and will never tolerate discrimination or disrespect of any kind amongst its event attendees or clients. TJE Communications also will never support or work with those who believe in the discrimination of others.

I challenge you all to make a list of all of the things you value, and find ways to incorporate it into your business model. If you need help, you know where to find me!

Have a question that needs an answer, email info@tjecommunications.com.

What I’ve learned in 4 years as a business owner

Can you believe its been 4 years?! Here’s what I’ve learned.

I didn’t even realize it had been 4 years until LinkedIn reminded me! Now we’re at 4 years and 1 month and in the last few years my life has significantly changed. I graduated college, purchased my first home, become a mother, bought my first car, and not to mention the physical, mental, and emotionally toll that those things bring.

I have had some really low, lows. I’ve also had some successes. Most importantly, I’ve gained wisdom. Here’s a few things you should keep in mind as you grow your business while not losing yourself in the process.

Support is not a given.

You want to know something? Let’s keep it real. Your friends and family don’t believe in you….yet. In my first year or so I had people “support” – share a post here, a RT there. But majority were still skeptical of what I was trying to do. Some still are. Save yourself the disappointment by understanding that support is not a given. Just because you’re besties or related, doesn’t mean you automatically get the support. It’s a hard pill to swallow but you have to respect it. Focus on building and giving people a reason to follow suite.

Stop giving away your shit for free.

Seriously. I’ve had soooooooo (I really want to put a billion o’s but I don’t have enough time for that) many people take advantage of me because I started off giving them free stuff. I thought of it as a way to “build my portfolio” and “gain some experience.” When in reality, people would take advantage of the free and when it was time to pay up, they “no longer needed” my services. Even IF you’re doing free work, you damn sure better be getting something in return.

Routines are mad important. 

I have a fairly strict daily routine for myself that keeps me on track! If I shy away from the routine even just a little bit, I have to accept the fact that I’ll be lacking in other areas. Trust me, I am FAR from perfect. And, no, I do not always hit my daily or even weekly goals. However, at least having them set gives me a general idea of what I should be doing for my business everyday.

Get you a hobby, or two.

I cut cable because I realized I was wasting so much time ready to hit the bed at 8PM so I could lay up and watch every reality television drama you can think of. I mean all of it. Sure these shows are still great in my mind, I had to shift my focus and truly get a hobby.

When I decided to stop working out to lose weight, and start working out to feel great, fitness quickly became a hobby. I compete with my own best results, and I find new ways to challenge myself and test my limits.

Working out truly allows me to clear my mind and relieve stress. If you want to keep a level head in your business, I suggest if you don’t have a hobby (like me until recently) you should do some soul searching to find out what makes you happy – other than your work.

Keep it cute.

People are going to try you, and that’s perfectly fine. Once you decided to become a business owner, you began representing something bigger than you. For me, I hope to build my businesses and hand them down to my daughter one day. That is why it is important to behave professionally at all times. As much as my want to “pop off”, it’s important to keep it cute. You never know who is watching you!

Make your seat unique. 

It’s 2018. More than likely there’s somebody doing what you’re doing. Your job is not to focus on how you can be like them, you need to focus on how you can stand out while staying true to your brand. Once you create a niche for yourself, you’ll be able to be more strategic and you will be much happier!

Disconnect.

Lastly, I’ve learned that at least a few times a week I need to shut it down. No phone, no email, no laptop, nothing. I enjoy taking a step back and just being present. All of the “noise” will still be there when you plug back in.

Thank you to everyone who has been along for the ride! I look forward to seeing where we are at 5 years.

Yes, PR Matters.

I love social media and the digital world like any other millennial marketer. But before Facebook and iOS Press Releases (only millennials will get this joke, sorry) there was good ol’ fashion public relations – aka PR.

Yes, PR matters and it should still remain a vital piece of your overall business strategy. If you don’t currently have a PR strategy, here are a few things you should think about to get started.

What’s the difference between PR and marketing?

Public relations is EARNED media, marketing is PAID media.

Why should I care about PR when I can pay for media placement?

Sure, you could pay for media placement. But wouldn’t you rather earn your full page article in that top magazine than pay for it? Would you trust a media publication that let you pay for good publicity?

If you want to be authentic, you have to earn your stripes. PR allows you to do that.

What exactly can PR do for my business?

Having a great PR strategy can help you earn media placement on a local, or even national level. This can help you extend your reach and potentially gain new customers.

What are some key items that should be apart of my PR strategy?

There are three keys items that should be apart of your public relations strategy:

    1. Media Kit: This should be updated per product release, new service, or new business venture.
    2. Media Contacts: Don’t abuse your contacts, and don’t be too general. Your pitch should align to the interests of the person you’re reaching out to.
    3. Crisis Communication Plan: If something goes wrong in your business, (i.e. someone gets sick from your product, your product malfunctions, someone slanders you or your company) you should have a plan in place to mitigate potential issues. Your plan should include scenarios that are relevant to your industry. For example, if you own a makeup line, you should have a plan in place for the possibility of someone getting an infection or rash from your products.

Technology will continue to advance and we will gain more and more access to one another. However, the basics are what they are – the foundation. You should find a creative way to incorporate “old school” ideas into your new age strategy.

 

‘Be Ventilated’ – It’s Story Time In the Marketing World

While brands across the board are constantly trying to tell a ‘story’ in their marketing efforts, not all of them can get it right.

Luckily for Reebok, they snagged Kendrick Lamar for a very cool ‘Be Ventilated’ commercial for their Ventilator OG shoe. Reebok, as most brands do, loves to partner with some of the hottest people in popular culture and Kendrick is definitely one of them.

Reebok has a history of helping kids in the community realize their potential is limitless. I saw what the brand was doing, and I wanted to be a part of it and make it even stronger. It’s as simple as that. Kids that listen to my music are looking for inspiration. It’s important that I continue that message in anything I represent,” said Lamar. (source: #ThisIsKendrick)

Three months ago Reebok and Kendrick Lamar created a short film directed by Anthony Mandler shot in the streets of Compton, CA that further tells the story of the new shoe and why he chose to be a part of the brand.

The trend we are beginning to notice with brands like Reebok, or what Powerade did a few months ago with Derrick Rose, is that brands are beginning to understand the art of storytelling.

Yes, brands have finally caught on that millennials don’t give a rats ass about a brand that they will never have an opportunity to be a part of. Millennials will not buy in if they cannot fit in. In order to grasp the youth you have to give them something to believe in. Those old traditional marketing tricks will no longer work.

This is why I proudly embrace the fact that my team and I are twenty-something year old entrepreneurs. We understand what the youth wants because we are a part of the culture. The youth will always win. Even when I’m in my 40’s I will have to understand that the youth will always control the tide. In order to stay relevant you have to stay with the times – and they are constantly changing.

Reebok, Powerade and Dick’s Sporting Goods in the last few years have caught on to the art of storytelling and recognize the wants of the youth which is why people buy into those brands. Sure, every brand that is generating revenue has a consumer buy-in of some sort. But a simple story can be told over and over again.

What do you think about Reebok’s partnership with Kendrick Lamar? Comment below or tweet us and give your opinion: