Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Left out of a Pandora Club

Last night while watching TV I noticed a few "Pandora" brand bracelet knock-offs. I was reminded how many women around me have Pandora bracelets and seem to be in a Pandora club of sorts; and I have been totally left out. I pointed out to my husband that bracelets are my favorite type of jewelry, with that knowledge, how did I get left out of such a popular trend?? Hubby's grandma bought them for all of the daughters, daughters in law and grand-daughters, except me of course. And each holiday they all get new charms from her. Except me... And then on a recent trip to Carlsbad, CA I noticed that my aunt and cousins all had Pandora bracelets and by the door was a new Pandora bag ready to take to my cousins house for her birthday party. Once again, I am totally not included! I feel so left out! And surprisingly it really bothers me!
I guess this is a perfect example of overactive emotions due to Pregnancy hormones! Oh well!
Pregnancy has brought on a whole new batch of emotions, feelings and priorities that I didn't expect. It is so much different this time than it was 12 years ago. I am less worried about post birth, because I have been with my step daughters for 4 years now. But the pregnancy thing is a little tougher. First of all, the hunger and nausea! I have already gained 5 lbs and am only 8 wks pregnant! I shouldn't have gained anything, I seem to remember no one knowing I was pregnant at this point 12 years ago. Now I just look fat, and am so uncomfortable in anything except pajamas!
And sleep. I don't know if it is possible for me to sleep anymore than I am currently. But when I am asleep I don't feel so yucky, so I am a big fan of sleeping these days. I tend to have morning sickness all day long every day, which also makes it tough to think about working in any capacity. Whether it be folding laundry or making sales calls. I just feel like crap. I know it is wearing on my husband, but I don't really know what I can do about it. I am grateful that this is only for 9 months and hope that he can stick with me for that long. It is so hard to understand how something the size of a peanut can completely take over my body. I'm like a zombie living inside the skin of Kristy Barkley, hopefully I won't due too much damage between now and June 17th!!
Pray for all those unfortunate enough to be stuck with me! And add me to a Pandora club if you have one!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dizzy Bat

The last couple of days I feel like I have been playing the dizzy bat game. You know the one...Where you put the end of a bat on the ground and your nose on the handle and you spin around in a circle 10 times, then stand up and try and run to a pre-determined destination...That seems to be me on a regular basis. And then of course I fall down because I am so dizzy! And when I say dizzy, I don't mean in parable terms, I mean literally I am dizzy and nauseous. Of course the people closest to me assume I am pregnant, so I peed on a stick an hour ago, much to my dismay, I was not. So then it is time to figure out what is going on, and I make a list of the things I am a part of at some level or another. YWCA GED tutoring, Junior Achievement volunteer teacher, Alzheimer's Association sponsorship chair, Worthwhile board member, Relief Society President, Giandi's catering brand manager, Feld Entertainment sponsorship sales, Maxx the Robot brand manager, Rainbow Valley sponsorship sales, I Run For the Party sponsorship sales and another event that is occurring tonight that I think ended up being a big flop.
To top it all off, I go to boot camp at 5:15 in the mornings, I try to keep the house clean and groceries stocked, get 1 kid to and from everything and 2 kids to and from everything half of the time, and I am trying to get pregnant with someone who is excited one minute and freaking out the next.
It is no wonder I feel as if I am in a dizzy bat game. To make matters worse, all I want to do is curl up and watch movies for a week and read books. But I just can't. Today I did the Barkley's October budget and it is really scary. We are going to be walking a very fine line, which is never fun in our home. And hubby wants to know if I can make money anywhere else. Again, I want to put my head in the proverbial sand and never come out!
But alas, I must get to work. I feel like Isaac hit the nail on the head last night when he said "you need to make more money", and I said, "yes, but I don't have time to take on any more clients". To which he responded "well then hire someone" and I informed him "I don't make enough to pay anyone else right now". So how does someone make that transition when they are starting a company? Is there a magic formula? If so, please feel me in!
Until then, I will keep trying to get everything done.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Ideal Day

I have been "retired" for a month and 3 days now. Today is the first day that was even close to what I had hoped for. I took Isaac to school, came home and worked on a couple of projects for 4 hours, cleaned the house for 3 hours and then went back to get Isaac. Then I made dinner, Isaac and I ate and I had the kitchen cleaned up by 7 pm. Now that is a great day!
I just wonder how many of those I will actually have??
The first project I worked on this morning was for Feld Entertainment in conjunction with Werkshop Marketing. I am helping them get people to attend a reception prior to the Disney On Ice Toy Story 3 show. We will hopefully fill the room with potential sponsors for any of the many Feld shows. It should be a lot of fun!
The other project I am working on is for Giandi's Catering. I reached out to multiple event planners and venues today, as well as companies who order catering for meetings. My goal is to grow the Giandi's brand. They currently stay busy with events, but they do a ton of smaller events and only a few large events. We want to get them doing more larger events and fewer small events. With the help of Shannon, I have gotten their Facebook page and Twitter page up. Hopefully this will help continue to grow their brand. There are a lot of great caterers in Middle Tennessee, but it is the few that market themselves and grow their social media, that will rise to the top. So my goal is to help Giandi's reach the top. The owner is fantastic and I love working with him. He is in the process of hiring a new chef and I am excited to see what possibilities that will bring to the menus! We are getting close to Christmas party season, so I hope to have tons of parties booked by mid November!
Not to back track, but the Menchie's SouthNashDash went wonderfully! I had a great team working on it with me! Rob, Shannon Harris, Sheri Ferguson, Drew and Lacey Williams all helped prior to race day and the people that helped on race day were amazing! Especially Rob and I's parents, they were total Rock Stars! My mom and dad showed up at 6 am and set up registration, cut bagels, bought and delivered ice, took pictures, took care of Menchie man, I could go on forever, but needless to say, I am so grateful for their help! Rob's mom, helped all day as well, especially helping keep track of the kids while my mom took pics. We ended up having a bit over 230 runners/walkers. The bands were great and the vendor tables were awesome! I learned a few things to make next year better...We will end earlier, we will give away door prizes between songs rather than between bands, we will let everyone start at once, and we will offer chip timing, for an additional charge. All in all, I think the day went well, I delegated well and I think I had things organized efficiently. An unintended compliment I received was "I haven't seen you all day" The reason I liked it was because it meant that people didn't have to come to me for every little question. I had people in the right spots that could answer any questions as they came up! Huge thanks to Shannon Harris, Derek Robertson (who collected 2 boxes of shoes for Soles 4 Souls), Rob and I's parents, my wonderful and patient kids, Kathy Niznik, Sheri Ferguson, CK and my amazing husband, Rob.
This Saturday I am going to do the Women's Half Marathon Music City. It started as a challenge for Shannon as well as myself, 6 months ago. I wasn't feeling great, and hadn't worked out in months, and she was doing random things here and there. So I asked her if she would do this half with me. At the time, she would pretty much max out around 2 miles. We have since spent every Saturday morning together (with a couple of exceptions), walking and running. The weekend before SND, we went 13.1 miles, so I know we are ready. I have committed to do this whole race with her at her pace, and I am excited about it! And just so that we don't lose momentum, we have both signed up for the Race for the Cure in a couple of weeks, she will do another 1/2 marathon with her sister in Tempe and then we will do the I Run For the Party 1/2 in mid November as well. Then I told her we can take a winter gym break! If you are not impressed by her progress, then you need to read her blog, Run Phatty Run, it is so funny! She says out loud what every beginner runner has ever thought!
Well, I am going to relax away the last couple of hours of this Ideal Day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Countdown to the Crazies!

Things have been crazy busy! I am 9 days away from Menchie's South Nash Dash and although it is coming together, I am really feeling the pressure from some of my other clients who feel as if they have been on the back burner. I wish they all knew how often they were in my thoughts and actions!!!
But due to my crazy schedule, today I am going to share less of the personal today and more of the info...Today I want to share with you a few things I have learned about sponsorship over the years. If you aren't in the industry, it may bore you. But then again, it may give you a different perspective on why sponsors do what they do..

So Here You Go...
There is a belief out there that if an organization embarks on a sponsorship with one company, it disadvantages other companies in that category. Not to put too fine a point on it, but…yeah!
To a sponsor, sponsorship is all about creating a point of difference from the competition. Through a sponsorship, they will make connections with their target market(s), meet their objectives cost-effectively, and position their brand.
If you are selling sponsorship, you are selling a point of difference. The benefits you offer in exchange for their money create that point of difference. There is no way to create a partnership with one company - while taking their money to help underwrite your costs – and to ensure a level playing field.
If we want to sell sponsorship, the first thing we need to accept is that there is no level playing field. That said, there are some things we can do to ensure that providing a company with some benefits that give them an edge with their markets is not the same thing as giving them preference to our organization.
What we are selling is about meeting the sponsor’s objectives with our program’s target market. As all sponsors have different objectives and markets, some will be better suited as partners for a particular program than others.
Our sponsorships are about marketing return, not buying influence.

Sponsorship can provide more relevance and excitement around things on which the sponsor is already spending money, such as advertising, promotions, e-commerce, loyalty marketing and employee programs. The net effect is that sponsorship is supporting the overall marketing program, not the other way around. There is a rule of thumb that states that for every dollar a sponsor spends on a sponsorship fee, they need to spend another dollar to leverage the sponsorship.
Sponsors often think that leverage will cost a large amount of money. In fact, integrating sponsorship with the existing media integration can ease the burden of additional costs by fully utilizing all of the marketing vehicles that the sponsor is already paying for. They can drop their costs dramatically, making their whole sponsorship program more cost effective.
The best ambush protection a sponsor can possibly have is to leverage their sponsorship fully. If they have created a strong program of support for their investment, any activities mounted by their competition will look weak and stupid by comparison.

Sponsorship is the most emotional and personally relevant of all marketing media. If you don’t know who your markets are, you won’t be successful at any kind of marketing, much less with sponsorship.
Interesting thought: Forty years ago, sports grounds had billboards. The signs actually said something about the brand or the product, not like the logos that now plaster every surface of every modern stadium. That was followed by the more-is-better logo-driven approach. Still common, the problem with this approach is that the massive preponderance of signage is unwelcome. It is clutter – an interruption – that detracts, rather than enhances, the audiences’s experience with the event. Research has shown that people tend to equate signage with sponsorship and sponsorship to making an event run, which means that they tolerate it, but that is all they do. If you want your brand to be an invited part of someone’s life, there is no more powerful way to achieve that than to add value to their experience and align with their values and self-definition through something that they truly care about, and no worse way to do it than to disrespect their experience than by intruding on it. The wisest of sponsors understand that signage and other branding is not the cake, it’s not the frosting, it is merely the cherry on the top. In a fully realized sponsorship program, it can serve as a reminder of the sponsorship’s substance, but a conscious effort is made not to be intrusive.
The most powerful thing that a sponsor can do to effect a marketing return from sponsorship is to add value to the event/cause/team/whatever experience – to amplify the good stuff and mitigate the bad stuff; to make it more accessible, convenient, or interactive; to give the target market more input, control, or voice; to make the target market feel understood and valued and respected.
People choose to have these experiences – they care about them and make them part of their lives – and the sponsor who makes that even better for them will be valued and their contribution to the experience advocated. It’s about creating small, meaningful “wins” for a lot of people, and it is incredibly powerful.
Contrast that with sponsors who take the selfish route – who choose to interrupt the experience, to be overbearing and intrusive, to disrespect the audience; who are so are so focused on getting people’s attention that they conveniently forget that those people are there for the primary goal of paying attention to something else.
Best practice sponsorship is built around the idea of win-win-win. The third “win” is for the target markets. The goal with best practice sponsorship is that a large proportion of the target markets should receive small, meaningful benefits through a sponsorship, not just the chance for one person to receive a giant prize.
The event experience, however, provides the scope, longevity, and flexibility to create amazing, bespoke sponsorship programs. How? Think about this… Do people stop being fans of a team when the game ends? The season? Does the concert really start with the first crushing chord and end when the lights go on? Is your Louvre experience over when you re-emerge into the Paris dusk? Do you stop caring about the charity once you’ve finished the walk-a-thon? Do you have to attend a conference to be interested in the content? No. No to all of it.
The way most sponsorship is done, however, you think the event itself was the be-all and end-all. The fundamental reason for this is the flawed (and outdated) idea that the primary relationship is between the sponsor and the sponsee, hence, the focal point is the event. In reality, the primary relationship is between the sponsor and their target market(s) – with the sponsorship seeker in the role of “conduit” – so the focal point must be the people who make up the markets, and for them, the event is only part of their event experience.
The event experience starts the moment an event comes into consideration and doesn’t end until the last memory fades, the last story is told, you turn the concert CD into a coaster, the t-shirt into a rag, or simply decide to care about something else. The event experience is longer, broader, and deeper than the event itself. It encompasses anticipation and memories, logistics and mementos, it is emotional, functional, educational, social, and so much more. The event is created by a production company or team or association. The event experience is created by individuals. And because there are so many ways to have an event experience – so many components, so many touch-points – many people create one for themselves without even attending the event.
I am not talking about simply running a sales promotion (or whatever) that is anchored on the event, but happens outside of the event, although that certainly can be part of a leverage program. I am talking about extending the basic concept behind best practice sponsorship – that sponsorship is now win-win-win, with the third win being the target market – across the entire event experience.
Creating those “third wins”, those small, meaningful value-adds for the target market, falls into two main categories: Amplifying or extending the best parts of the event experience and ameliorating the worst parts of the event experience. There are as many ways to do this as there are aspects to an even experience, but here are some ideas to get you started.

An IEG/Performance Research survey indicated that ‘increasing consumer loyalty’ was the top priority of corporate sponsors.

Activation Ideas:
Allow race participants to use their bib number for a discount at your store
Hand out a coupon during the day offering a discount at your store
Offer door prize, have the enter to win bowl at your table and keep the database
Have a kids area (coloring pages or posters, play doh, etc…) around your table that will allow the parents to hang out at your table longer
Offering sunscreen mini packets

Ask yourself:
What are the best things about this event experience to my target market?
How can my brand improve that experience?
Does my brand respect and enhance the audience’s emotional connection with the event?
Does my brand provide meaningful added-value to the audience’s experience with the event?
Does my brand enhance the target market’s community in a way that impacts, even in a small way, on ordinary people’s lives?

There are sponsorship seekers – big and small – who are sailing through the GFC. Why? Because they have the skills and approach that make them appealing to these very picky sponsors.
If every single proposal you prepared were customised for that sponsor, and provided ideas for how they could use (leverage) that sponsorship to achieve their objectives and create meaningful bonds with their target markets, your proposals would be at the top of the pile.
If your proposal included ideas for how various departments and business units could benefit from (leverage) the sponsorship, it will make it easier for the sponsor to sell the proposal internally.
If you approached the brand manager with your fabulous, customised proposal, you would have a clearer run to the ultimate decision-maker.
If you add value to your sponsor relationships, putting yourself in the position of “problem solver”, rather than “contract enforcer” or “arse kisser”, you will showcase your value as a partner, not just a communication channel.
If you help your sponsors create amazing leverage plans and show flexibility with benefits when a great idea demands it, your sponsors will find you a refreshing joy to work with.
If you invest in educating your sponsors, creating networking events, and showcasing the work of your most effective sponsors, you are adding value not only to their results with your sponsorship, but giving them skills and ideas that they can use across their whole portfolio.
The best sponsorship seekers in the world are not necessarily the biggest or sexiest, they are the ones who balance strategic skills and creativity to help their sponsors achieve their goals, thus differentiating themselves from the hoard of sponsorship seekers who can’t be bothered. Let them fill the “dead wood” column, because you don’t have to be there, no matter what the economy does

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Great Sponsorship thoughts...and then Life!

From August Issue:
IEG Sponsor Report
: What are the attributes of a good property partner? What do they do that other properties should emulate?
Andy Allman (Southwest Airlines): They become problem-solvers for us. They are interested in what we are trying to accomplish, as opposed to what they have to sell.
It’s frustrating. I have ten emails from properties telling me how their footprint matches up with ours, and therefore I need to be a sponsor. That has nothing to do with what I need in the market.
In a good sponsorship, the property tries to understand what I am trying to accomplish, either in the individual market or on a bigger scale, and how they can be a solution to that challenge.

I love when I read sponsorship information that is so very true and understood, but so rarely done. Sponsorship pros are constantly told that they need to really understand a brands mission, but they so rarely do that. I am not sure if it is because they are too busy dialing for dollars, but eventually what they will discover is that you may talk a company into a deal, but they will rarely renew their deal the next year and you are spend spinning your wheels, year after year.
But maybe it is because they don't take the time to build the relationships needed to really focus on the brands marketing strategy and creating something that would work within their event or property. Whatever it is, I am grateful to have been taught years ago how important the relationship is, and that the amount of time spent building that relationship will be worth millions later.
Hopefully everyone in sales understands the value of relationships. But in sponsorships, it is especially valuable!!! I am grateful for the relationships I have!!
With that said, we had a great day in regards to the Menchie's SouthNashDash sign ups! We are tracking very well know and will hopefully make a little bit of money. In all honesty I just want to make enough money to share it with the great people who have shared their talents to make this event a success! People like Drew and Lacey Williams, Shannon Harris, Nathan, Brumley, Sheri Ferguson and Kathy Niznik; I could do none of this without their help!
Overall I had a tough week balancing work and motherhood, in fact I took a 3 hour nap on Wednesday and apparently sent my husband into a tailspin. He couldn't get in touch with me and even looked for help on facebook and among my close friends. So in the future I may be posting nap time so you all know where I am and why I am not answering my phone!
It was just a lot of juggling. I have the research in hand to really dig into Giandi's Catering, I have a neat opportunity to entertain potential sponsors at the Disney on Ice Toy Story 3 opening night, and I have been reaching out to a ton of companies to get them on board with the Brad Sugars: Business is Booming Tour. And lets not forget this little 5K that I own, promote and operate, which will take place on Sept 18th!
Last year Rob did the race with a committee of about 5 neighborhood folks and he was a mess for the last month and very difficult to deal with. Thursday he said "was I this bad last year?" So I guess he was letting me know that I was a disaster! But as long as the event runs smoothly, I will be happy!
I am getting better at saying "not now" , I haven 't quite figured out the word "no" yet, but I am making progress. With the two groups that came to me this week, hoping I would sell sponsorships for their events, I said "not until January". So that is better right?
I just can't do everything, I sure wish I could though! I am grateful for my friends and family for bearing with me over the past week and the upcoming 2 weeks, it could get ugly! And I am even more grateful for the Sabbath tomorrow, because I can't work. So for 24 hours, I will enjoy my beautiful family, remember my Creator, show my gratitude for the Atonement, and accept the Day of Rest!
I hope you all will be able to do the same! Have a great Labor Day!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Week One

So I have officially been at home for a week and I think I have done less housework than I did when I worked in an office. Seriously, where do my days go? I can't seem to keep up with my to do list and I think whoever is in charge of my calendar must be on crack! There is barely a free minute on my schedule and I am clearly not getting everything taken care of!
What do I do first? Delegate! Shannon Harris to the rescue! She has taken the role of Social Media and Research Manager and run with it! Best investment of my life! And she doesn't get mad when I send random texts for things I need done, at least she doesn't tell me she is mad...Not only that, but every Saturday morning we push each other, this past Saturday we pushed for 12 miles! We both have the blisters to prove it, but for more on that fun part of life you will have to check out her blog "Run, Fatty, Run".
The majority of my time right now has been spent on the Menchie's SouthNashDash 5K and Block Party that will be on Sept 18th. As we get closer and closer, each day I realize that there is more I need to do and things I have forgotten. I was a nervous wreck because the publication that I sunk our marketing fee into went out a month late. So rather than potential runners getting it 7 weeks before the race and having time to train and put it on their calendar, they are getting it 3 weeks before when they are likely already doing something else. But sponsorships have increased over last year and vendors are looking good. So if I can get some more runners out there, we will be golden. But I am still trying to secure the emergency personnel as well as kids activities, all the crazy things that make a race day fun!
On Thursday I served lunch at Room At the Inn, which is a homeless and treatment facility. Each day they serve over 200 people a warm meal. It was a great experience! They have just opened their new building and they were so excited to be there!
Yesterday I spent all day at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital. That in and of itself should be enough to scare you off! But really, they tested me for 6 hours and it will become my baseline for Alzheimer's. Since I have such a high risk of getting Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease, they need to know where I am starting and if I need to start medication in the near future to slow my delay. I have never felt more stupid than I did taking those tests! I took a WAIS - III and the MMPI and a few other tests. The worst was when I could not make the red and white blocks look like the shape they wanted! So frustrating! But I finished it and I believe all went well.
Today I went to the girl doctor and had my IUD removed, something I have wanted to do for a long time! But at last my husband has uttered the words "I am excited to have a baby" Not sure he is convinced yet, but we are going to try and let God decide what our future holds. All in the game of Sponsorship, Brand Management and Motherhood. Maybe I could get my (future) pregnancy sponsored so that we didn't have any bills. Then hubby wouldn't be near as nervous!!
This morning I met with someone about an Ice Cream Festival, I could not be more perfect for that job!! It will actually be a great fundraiser for a 3 year old with cancer, but I will hopefully help get the sponsors for the event so that more money is raised for her. All those who grew up with me, or know me at all, know that I could live off Ice Cream alone! It could be a dangerous contract for me to accept! But the event isn't until July 2011, so I have some time before I need to start taste testing!
I had another call with E.M. who owns 4 races and manages multiple others and it looks like we are going to work out a deal for me to sell sponsorships for his events. He has a great product and I really believe that his races could be set up in all larger cities! If the foundation gets laid correctly, he is sitting on a gold mine!
But now it is about time to go put my mommy hat back on, Isaac's CPA Lions are playing Friendship Christian Academy this evening. So time to dress in my purple and grab the camcorder! Let's go Lions!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

And So It Begins...

Back in May I was having a lot of health issues, and as a family we decided that I would resign and focus on the kids, thus becoming a stay at home mom for the first time in my life. The kids are 12, 7 and 3 now, so it made sense. I would rest during the day and when they were home I would spend my healthy hours with them. And then Dr. Knotts entered my life. Who would have thought that a chiropractor would change everything? Suddenly I am feeling better than I have in years...An offer to do contract work here and there pop up and I take them because I feel good and it would help the family if I continue to make some money. Before I know it, it is August and I am just leaving the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce (a job I loved!!!), and I already have 5 clients. How did this happen? Just a few months ago, my husband and I were talking about what I would do with the rest of my life. And I said "I'm going to write a book". I had big plans, I could write while the kids were in school and clean up a little and cook a little and drive carpool a little. I planned to do a lot of things for my family - a little. I also planned to fit a lot of exercise and naps into my schedule. But that isn't the way it has worked out.
Today, I am starting a blog, because I obviously won't be writing a book anytime soon! Heck, at the rate I am going, I won't be doing laundry anytime soon either! So what am I working on you ask? First is the 2nd Annual Menchie's South Nash Dash 5K. Thank goodness it will be over September 18th! It takes a lot of work to put on a 5K, get the sponsors and vendors on board and get people excited to run! My second project is one that my hubby asked me to take on for a very close friend of ours. I will be the brand manager for a robot he built called, Maxx. It is just a coincidence that my company was named MaxxV (Maxx Five) a few years ago. The Robot is amazing and I hope to get him booked in many many places, so that his owner can stop working as a valet. My third project is for Giandi's Catering. They do a wonderful job! But unfortunately they are stuck in the cycle of a ton of low cost meals. My goal is to get them a few high cost meals, they deserve it and they can pull it off if given the opportunity! Fourth, I am trying to get sponsors hooked into a Business is Booming conference with Brad Sugars, it will be in Nashville on Sept 29th. I really need to get moving on that one!! Also, I will be going back to do some work with HRG and when finalized, that contract could be a huge one. More on that later :)
So my plan with the blog is to talk about how I do it all each day. I know there are working moms out there everywhere who are barely hanging on to their sanity. And there are some stay at home moms who wish they had another adult to talk to! So for the working mom, I hope to share some tips on how I am getting it all done. And for the stay at home moms, you can live vicariously through me! You will read some posts and remember why you don't want a paying job. And you may read other posts and have some suggestions for me. Just because you are playing with the kiddos and monitoring the home front, does not mean you have to let you marketing juices stop flowing!
So, for now it begins, thank you all for taking this journey with me!