Creating Next-Level Brands with the Elevation Strategist

Q) What is an elevation strategist, and how did you devise the title?

Elevation strategist captures the essence of my expertise. I elevate brands, moods and ideas typically through public relations, media coaching and training/keynote speaking. I created the title after assessing my talents, business offerings and client needs.

I realized that I required a way to connect with the central need of entrepreneurs and corporations without overwhelming them with what avenues are available. Most brands are seeking elevation. I do that inherently. Then the job is to assess the “how” that would work best for them.

You use strategic communications, public relations and media to help elevate brands. How do these services differ?

PR is often a misunderstood field. It involves shaping public opinion, awareness and protecting brands from damage or crisis. There are at least five to 10 different ways to do that. Media are often used to reach new audiences and position brands in spaces larger than their current platform. Strategic communication helps create relationships, potential customers and more.

How can new and established brands develop an elevation strategy?

Both can hire Zakiya Larry. But, seriously, at each level, brands should review past successes and challenges and then decide very specifically where they want to go. Ask “what are my top three goals?”

Make sure the goals are future-based and long term. Then create timelines and exact steps to achieve them, to elevate.

What is a brand promise?

More specifically, a brand is a promise. Beyond colors, websites and snazzy taglines, your brand should communicate what people receive from you every single time they interact with you, your products or services.

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Explain the three C’s that every business or celebrity must consider to take their brand to the next level?

  • Be clear — As a brand, it’s a given that you have many different skills, talents and offerings. When growing your influence, streamline what you talk about even though you have multiple offerings.

Highlighting all of who you are/what you do at one time can muddy the water. Pick the offering that best summarizes who you are, your core, and focus on that. Communicating clearly can create faster brand buy-in.

  • Be consistent — When discussing or communicating your brand, use the same language, phrases, colors and fonts with little or no variation. This helps to fix your brand in people’s minds.

A well-known marketing rule is that a person needs to see your offering seven times before being moved to buy. If your outreaches are very different, you may create subconscious confusion. People may think that you’re promoting different initiatives although it actually is only one.

  • Be consistent consistently — Now that your brand has a consistent look and feel, take that consistency up a notch! Create a communications calendar that allows you to post on social media and reach out through other portals many times a week.

When you establish a communications momentum, keep it up. Maintain your brand’s consistency and be consistent in how often you communicate it.

Tell us about your media coaching programs.

Media coaching through my company, Quest Media Training, is my passion! We build a custom program around you or your organization so your responses flow seamlessly, strategically and with authority.

Ultimately, your Quest coach will demystify the media, help to perfect your strategic positioning, enhance your public speaking and interviewing abilities, and give your confidence a power boost! Through proven Quest techniques, you’ll increase your potential for repeated media appearances.

We offer Basic Media Training, Media Training 101, Advanced Media Training and Crisis Communication. All four levels are customized and include:

  • Preparation — Research on your organization or brand, customized presentation and mock-interview questions
  • Messaging session — Using the Z Method, discover messages that capture your intent and resonate with the audience. Key messages that will be used repeatedly are developed in real time for real impact.
  • Interview navigation strategies — Custom drills and proven techniques to put your message across, no matter the question, time limit or possible bias of the interviewer.
  • On-camera performance/review — Record and review the mock interview, then critique and improve on the spot.

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Quest Media Training is ideal for:

  • Executive and support staff, and individuals
  • Brand identification and message development
  • Full-day or multi-day workshops
  • Full-day or multi-day crisis communications workshops
  • Master the Media monthly coaching calls
  • Strategic public relations

How have technology and digital media changed the way you work with brands?

They’ve changed the way I plan PR campaigns and even leverage traditional media. I now create a hybrid of traditional media meets social media. It expands my client’s reach much faster yet increases the heavy lifting that’s required because digital turns over quickly, demands more content and different types of content per platform. It’s an exciting ride with great results.

Are there new trends in your industry that you encourage new or established brands to follow and/or adopt? What’s “next” for brands looking to elevate?

“New,” “now” and “next” are what digital is all about. Brands should create a fully operable, separate digital plan that goes beyond posting to social media. Ad buys, integrating video, using live features regularly and leveraging the digital arms of traditional media outlets are key to longevity and brand elevation.

To learn more about Zakiya, visit zakiyalarry.com.

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