It has been nearly two years since the closure of my former print-centric company. Having been so focused on commercial printing for many years before moving into the digital world has made for a bumpy ride. Sure I added a number of marketing service aspects to my business prior to closing it, but there’s nothing like a blank slate to really motivate a move forward.
Recently a longtime friend and business colleague (former client) and I were catching up by phone. After we caught up on our families he asked ‘So tell me what exactly are you doing these days?’ That moment was living proof that I have much work yet to do in communicating my own personal brand.
The question of ‘what are you doing?’ comes up often in my case for obvious reasons. There are many people in the printing and mailing industry with whom I have been friends, clients or just simply business associates that I’ve not spoken with in two years or more. For them I all but disappeared. While I realize I am far from unique, (so many people in the marketing industry, print or otherwise, have had their lives disrupted), like the proverbial shoemaker’s children, I get so busy that I neglect my own brand.
So what exactly am I doing these days?
Well first off, I have great partners in moddern marketing. We have a good understanding of when and how to work together on behalf of our clients – and maybe more importantly, when not to. Our concept of a micro-network/marketing consultancy, dovetails well with my overall position as a business consultant specializing in helping companies gain and retain more customers be it through digital means or otherwise. Sometimes I work alone (with the help of my amazing wife Michele), and other times the three partners work together with our associated teams to handle larger and more comprehensive engagements.
Second (and the best part), is that I am truly enjoying working with companies and brands – some of them challenger brands and some of them established brands, that have unique positions in the marketplace and make things in the world – better – if only modestly.
Third is that I am still focused and interested in working with brands in China and Japan. There are major differences in approach to branding and marketing when you compare the two. The Japanese have much broader and longer experience than do the Chinese when it pertains to modern (or moddern!) marketing and branding. Yet having worked with companies from both countries, I feel that I have a good understanding (from a non-expat’s perspective), of the unique challenges and personalities that are part of the makeup of Chinese and Japanese companies
What has become clear about my ‘new’ path is the critical need to make thoughtful choices about who to work with. This would include both on the customer side as well as partner side, and also when to decline something that does not fit well. Anyone who is doing consulting knows that the latter is more difficult that the former.
So there it is. That’s what I am doing these days. What are you doing these days?