What do Beaches and Brands Have in Common?

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Personally, nothing sounds better than the crashing of waves and a light breeze off the water. The embodiment of vacation, the pinnacle of summer – the beach has been a haven to many people. Residents and tourists alike continually come back to the shore for more. Having grown up in New Jersey, I can accurately attest to the seasonal return of the tourists to our sand-filled paradise.

So what do beaches and brands have in common exactly?

Well, beaches are what brands strive for: to be a perfect, self-sustaining, self-marketing, economic mechanism. Brands seek to sell themselves with a catchy slogan, unique logo, and a slew of advertising campaigns – with the hope of building a strong enough name that they might alleviate their marketing budget just a tad bit, while still accumulating more and more consumers.

Beaches do this perfectly, and rather innately too. Beaches are warm, comfortable, and provide a sense of relaxation as you lounge back on your Tommy Bahama beach chair. If you find yourself on an island getaway, the “beach butlers” will refill your beverage of choice within seconds, and if you’re lucky enough, they will also fan you with palm tree branches. What a life!

Granted you are a fan of going to the beach, doesn’t that sound absolutely wonderful?

But wait. We forgot the most important details! How do you get to this sand-filled paradise? Ah, right, the long drive, the plane ride, the bus trek – the hours upon hours of traffic, both there and back, just for a few hours of precious seawater and sticky-sand.

If it’s such a pain getting to this so-called paradise, why do we make the trip over and over again, multiple times a summer, each and every year? The answer is simple: the beach is a perfect brand.

Think of the top brands in the world… Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Apple, Microsoft… We will sometimes go out of our way to get what we want from these brands. Whether it be discount Coca-Cola, the newest iPhone, or a midnight release of the Surface Pro Ultimate 5000 – I guarantee you that people will setup camp and sleep outside the store, just to have first dibs on this brand.

The beach is no different. In fact, we’re crazier for making those long trips to the beach more so than waiting outside all night for the next iPhone. At least we get to go home with something tangible, right?

Let’s breakdown the elements of attraction for beach-goers, and identify ways for you to implement these elements within your startup or pre-existing business.

Supply & Demand

Face it, when anyone heads down to the beach or the shore, what’s the one thing you can count on? Price gouging. Now while the prices offered at most beach towns are higher than prices inland, it’s certainly not illegal. But it sure is infuriating.

The way beach businesses sell their products and services exhibit the natural principle of supply & demand. As a convenience, you can get food, purchase beach equipment and attire, and rent rooms, all at a higher cost! Considerably, it’s a fantastic business model that more people should be making use of.

For your business: Analyze your prices, and identify your supply & demand curves.

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Taken from Investopedia.com. Click here!

 

Comfort & Control

Piggy-backing off the first point, comfort comes from the lack of inconvenience, which is solved by the close proximity of almost everything that you will need while relaxing at the shore. The beach allows you to take comfort and soak in some sun, forgetting about all your worries (unless of course you have kids). Still, even with family, the sand-filled wonderland becomes quite the enjoyable adventure.

But what is so innately attractive about the beach? It’s the fact that you have complete control over your time there. Want to set up a tent? Go for it. Want to just lay out in the sand until the high tide crashes over you? Fine by me! The beach gives you the option to do whatever you want (within the confines of the law, of course). That’s absolutely incredible. When was the last time Burger King really let you have it your way?

For your business: give your consumers options, because everyone loves options. Burger King even built their whole marketing campaign around the idea of options – so that’s something of merit!

Simplicity

Finally, the inherent simplicity behind a day at the beach is something to marvel at. It’s just sand, water, and good weather! You could do that in your own backyard – so why make the trip down? It’s the fact that this simple yet invigorating experience lets you comfortably relax on your own terms, while enjoying the convenient treasures which surround you in the local beach town of your choice. It really doesn’t get any better than that

For your business: Don’t over-complicate your startup. Unless you’re in the finance, insurance, or medical field, it only penalizes your business if you over-complicate your product.

 

That’s all I have for now. Hopefully my insight on why beaches and brands are similar will help provide your business with a tactful advantage over your competition! Remember, supply, demand, comfort, control, and simplicity. Don’t sweat it.

A Game of Balance

Cue the ambient overtones of the Game of Thrones opening score.

worklife While not nearly as exciting or thrilling as George R.  R. Martin’s universe, your work life as an  entrepreneur becomes an incredible game of balance.  I’m going to focus this post on my perspective of  balance and how you too can multitask (direly a bad  habit, but nonetheless important).

So where does this balancing act of mine begin? For  starters, allow me to explain what I’m up to and what  I’ve got under my belt over these next few months.  Most importantly, I’m studying more than sleeping in preparation for my one of my actuarial examinations (see www.beanactuary.org), alongside with my upcoming employment at a major re-insurer next month. Thrown into the mix is my work with an actuarial society, a risk management organization, and the St. John’s University Entrepreneurs Society (in the great NYC) – oh and let’s not forget, this blog!

We’ll run with those items for now, as it’s really only a slice of the cake. I’ve got a million aspirations and to-do’s, but those are the prevalent issues at hand. Many of you might not have even known my pursuit of a career in insurance, let alone my involvement in the industry. Well it’s true! I’ve found the insurance industry to be a great place for not only individuals looking to grow their careers but also to innovate and revolutionize as well. As an entrepreneur, the words innovate and revolutionize fit well into my attributes.

But how in the world can I manage all of this while still promoting my blog, my brand, and continue to consult on the side? I admit, it’s a lot of multitasking as mentioned, but time management is key. If you don’t become an expert at your own time management it’s surely going to show. As a matter of fact, it shows for me more in my personal life than anything. It’s actually gotten to a point where people will tell me to show up somewhere 15-20 minutes earlier just because they know I’ll show up late if they don’t (hey, I’m working on it!).

Then where does one begin with mastering time management? Start with the little things and work on building your time management “portfolio”: allot certain time throughout the day for exercise, limit the amount of time you mind-numbingly watch television or browse Facebook (#techNOlogy!), and even take the opportunity to track how long it takes you to eat. Maybe you can do something productive like check emails or go through your to-do list while you eat your meal.

As you tackle more and more of your daily routine and scrutinize it to no end, you’ll start to see improvements in your time – namely, more of it. You can then use this time to wisely focus on the present issues at hand. For myself, I try to study for my examinations several hours per day (every day is different), then I make sure all my to-do’s have been taken care of, whether it be planning meetings or emailing my connections, and then I make time for my brand and my blog.

While many will argue your work must come before all else – which I agree with if you are a unique startup with a lot of potential – for my line of work, I manage what I have to do and move on. My service to my readers is my content, and to my clients my service is my consultation. I give you the time of day but do not dilly-dally, for the lack of a better word. You can do this too, it just takes time.

And time is what you have. Go take advantage of it – the most precious commodity that is slipping through your hands. Maximize the efficiency of your time and you will maximize your productivity and potential.

 

Wishing you absolutely the best.

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Back to the Basics

Over the past few weeks, most of my posts have been very involved – discussing specific  themes in personal branding or addressing popular issues. I want to take this opportunity to  focus on getting back to the basics of personal branding. So let’s tackle the tools which will  aid in advocating your personal agenda…

Audit your online prescence

Take advantage of the world of free tools to monitor who’s saying what about your brand or your work. Two great resources I strongly recommend are Google Alerts and Mention. Google Alerts allows you to receive email notifications detailing summaries of articles and online posts where your name/brand is mentioned. Mention.com offers a great service where it scours the internet – social networks and all – for mentions of your name (or keyword of choice). It then emails you a daily summary of your mentions and is actually totally free. Well, freemium, but if you choose to upgrade it’s well worth the price.

Network within your comfort zone

I wouldn’t advise that you simply share your work with family and friends, but I would agree that emerging within your comfort zone is something of key importance. When you are first starting out, associate with other “brands” that you are familiar with – your alma mater, your company newsletter. Beginning with something familiar is a way to boost or kickstart your brand, just like when you sold those candy bars in the 5th grade to your aunts and uncles. Starting small isn’t a bad thing, and in fact, networking within your comfort zone is how I got started!

Pick a model and follow it

Life is all about decisions and so is your brand. You’ve got to decide how you present yourself, who you target, how you market, and what you will offer to your audience. A big recommendation would be to pick a role model – someone who has successfully done what you want to do, or something similar. So if you wanted to work on business branding, you could use me as your model, since I mostly focus on personal branding – and what you would do is look at how I approach the topic of branding and apply it to business. Simpler said than done.

 

So go forth and multiply! Your audience, that is. Take what I’ve thrown at you and try to spin it around a little bit. I wish you the best of luck as you get back to the basics.

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