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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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Gene Simmons to Entrepreneurs: 'Unleash Your Inner Rock God'

From a Kiss rock 'n' roller to an entrepreneur who oversees a record label, a sports team, and a restaurant chain, Gene Simmons is all about building brands. Here's what he has learned along the way.

Best known as the bass guitarist behind the legendary rock band Kiss, and more recently for his family's reality TV series, Gene Simmons is also an entrepreneur who owns a record label, a sports team, and a restaurant chain.

Now he wants to teach you how to "build an army of one, unleash your inner rock god [and] win in life and business."

So reads the subtitle of his new book, Me, Inc., a plainspoken riff on Sun Tzu's The Art of War with 13 principles that Simmons dubs "the art of more." In an interview with Inc., Simmons shared some of the lessons that he has learned over the years while building his portfolio of ventures.

1. Self-confidence is your greatest business partner
Self-confidence isn't genetic or inherent, Simmons argues, but learnable--and essential for success.

"You are the resume," he says. "You better stand up straight, look somebody in the eyes and--if you're not confident--fucking fake it. It's the only way to survive."

2. Learn from the masters
Who are your role models? Your idols? What can you learn from them--if not in person, then through a book?

"I was a voracious reader and still am," says Simmons. "I read all sorts of things I'm not interested in, and therein lies something important: In order to learn something, especially something new, it might not be that you're interested in it... The library, as far as I'm concerned, is the house of God."

3. Find partners who complement you
Entrepreneurs who try to go at it alone are destined for a small, limited venture, according to Simmons. Partners can help bring in new ideas and help with expansion plans, though he notes the key is not to trust those individuals. It's trusting your judgment of people that is most important.

"I don't trust anybody," says Simmons. "I believe and I verify."

How? By spending time talking to others who know the potential partners, having a legal team research them, and watching them in action. In business terms, do your due diligence.

4. Know when to pull the plug
Failure, in Simmons's eyes, means "nothing," and a crucial, learnable skill is having the ability to fail then picking yourself back up.

"I fail every day in my life, in business and in decision-making," he says. "So what? You know who else failed? Henry Ford went bankrupt. Oprah Winfrey failed. I've failed. All the big guys failed--many times--and that's what made them succeed. You're in good company."

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Learn from the experienced.

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How to Create Magnetic Marketing Content

How to Create Magnetic Marketing Content | Competitive Edge |

How would you like to be able to create content so desirable that people can’t help but take you up on your incredible offer? It’s every marketer’s dream – to hit on something that’s both entertaining but also refreshingly honest.

Although very few of us can claim to fulfill such a tall order – there are companies out there who have completely revolutionized how people see them – so that they’re no longer just another “me too” player in a crowded sphere, but something worth paying attention to.

Want that same kind of attention for your own business? Here’s how:

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Via Marty Koenig
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Very well written article that helps understand what your clients are looking for, and how to create that while keeping them 'entertained, focused and what you offer, and respecting you for what you offer'.

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Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Innovative Marketing and Crowdfunding!

Ridiculous ads that mean nothing

Ridiculous ads that mean nothing | Competitive Edge |
Native advertisements should tell compelling narratives that are tailor-made to contextualize the brand for a particular audience in a way that makes the brand personally relevant to that audience.

When discussing (editorially) native advertising we focus too much on how integrative it is instead of how relevant it is.

Let's start with the same definition of native advertising from Forrester we've used in the previous article.

Any form of paid or sponsored content that directly and transparently contributes to the experience of the site or platform where it appears, by aligning with the format, context or purpose of that site or platform’s editorial content.

Emphasis is placed on how the content aligns with and contributes to the experience of the site or platform where it appears, instead of how it aligns with the advertiser's brand and how relevant it is to the goals of the advertiser.

To read the full article, click on the title.

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Via Marty Koenig
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Totally agree with Marty. Relevancy is what it's all about.

Marty Koenig's curator insight, January 27, 2014 11:37 AM

All I can say is THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Its about time someone talked about relevancy, authentic-ness and engagement in advertising, versus exposure for the sake of exposure - the outdated way.

The author is singin' my tune all the way. 

Rescooped by Marc Kneepkens from Story and Narrative!

Brand Stories with a Pulse

Brand Stories with a Pulse | Competitive Edge |
A few days ago Dave Winer wrote a post on pulsing technology, about how Apple has a pulse and follows a pattern every year. The company builds expectations, then follows up with an established cadence.

The Steve Jobs' defined process and event signature served the company well over the years by keeping its evangelists, developers, and customers in the loop. From Jobs' WWDC 1997 Q&A:

[...] we need to keep our eye on the prize.  

And that is turning out some great products, communicating directly with our customers the best we can. Getting the community of people that are going to make this stuff successful like yourselves in the loop, so you know everything and is marching forward, one foot in front of the other.

I wrote recently about how as a business Apple closes the perception-value gap. It is not a coincidence that the product company has climbed to the top of Interbrand's best global brands#. Its strong resonance is due to a consistent design of experience, with some element of surprise thrown into it -- the introduction of the iPad certainly was that.

Brand is a short form to express a core truth and encapsulate expectations, stories, memories, and relationships that compel us to hire a service/product to do the job we want done.

To Continue Reading, click on the Title of the article...

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Via Gregg Morris
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Building a Brand: there is so much to learn from Apple. Read the article to find what Apple's marketing strategy is, in a nutshell.

Gregg Morris's curator insight, November 12, 2013 6:21 AM

Good brand definition!