Home Articles Tunnel Talk: Business makeovers

Tunnel Talk: Business makeovers


Australian Anthill Magazine, Dec 2008/Jan 2009

We asked three marketing mavens to get up close and personal with three deserving readers and give them the once-over. Introducing the Coach, Mr Makeover and the PR Warrior.

THE COACH: Carmen Parnos

aa31_tt1Carmen Parnos, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Super Leaders Australia, has over 20 years experience in the corporate arena. An entrepreneur by nature, Carmen spends a slice of her busy schedule coaching some of Australia’s high profile corporate and business professionals and celebrities.

My first impressions of Amy Cato were, ‘What a knockout’. She looked great. She was in a neat and dry cleaned business suit. She was well groomed, her shoes were polished and she wasn’t wearing too much jewellery. She shook my hand and apologised for keeping me waiting – only for a few minutes – but I thought that was professional.

She’s a young lady who wants to rule the world… and do it yesterday! During our conversation, I could sense her urgency to show everyone just what she’s made of. She’s 25 and the owner of a business based in Melbourne and South Australia, so she’s off to a great start.

aa31_tunneltalk1_237The things that stood out the most to me were that Amy seems to have a transactional mentality, which is distracting her from chipping away at the bigger picture, and she should keep her work and life separate on social networking sites.

After two and a half hours together and getting to know Amy better, my recommendations included that she stop selling to potential clients. Instead, Amy should take time to build the relationships first, find out what’s ‘hurting them’ and then offer a solution.

She should also build a strong online presence using respected professional networks like LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook and e-cademy. It’s important to keep your business profile separate from your social one, so that there are no holiday or party snaps. Plus, Amy should join networking groups that feature her target demographic.

Another tip is for Amy to take her title off her business card. In fact, anyone can benefit from doing this. It opens many other doors for a small business so you can start building relationships at multiple levels of hierarchy more easily.

And everyone can benefit from a mentor.

“Carmen’s advice was expectantly critical but constructive. I don’t agree about being ‘transactional’ – it’s a dirty word at Cato & Hall. The fact that she mentioned it is a great motivator to see how I am perceived. I agree wholeheartedly with Carmen’s last piece of advice on getting a mentor and am pleased that she will be mine.”

Cato & Hall Recruitment is an up and coming recruitment agency servicing Victoria and South Australia. It strives to be a fast growth company through quality placements and unique service offering. Cato & Hall Recruitment specialises in the Office Support, Customer Service and Contact Centre industries.


aa31_tunneltalk2Ben Angel is a personal branding specialist and author of the upcoming book, “Sleep Your Way to the Top in Business – The Ultimate Guide to Attracting & Seducing New Customers.” His business focuses on developing and bringing out “an individual’s personality through their personal style to make them highly marketable”.

Like a lot of business consultants, Stefan was failing to truly differentiate himself through his personal image. He was wearing suits, ties and shirts that lacked personality and impact.

I needed to carefully look at how far Stefan was willing to push the boundaries within his industry to come up with a personal brand and style he was comfortable with and could wear with confidence and pride.

I began by colour coding him. It turns out that Stefan is a ‘Cool Winter’ guy – they tend to have medium to dark hair and were often blondes as small children.

Cool Winters look best in clear, true colours. Anything faded will tend to make them appear older than they are and can draw attention to any fine lines on the face. It can also make them look grey and dull. Medium to high contrast colours look best, like a crisp white shirt and black pants or vice versa.

aa31_tunneltalk2_2With the help of Kon Iatrou from ikon images and noted fashion designer Arthur Galan from AG, we devised a specific plan for Stefan. I took him personal shopping and chose a chequered black and white shirt and an off-white suit with blue pinstripes to make a statement. We ditched a tie, as his target market is semirelaxed and trendy and wearing a tie could have positioned him above his target market. To finish the look, we added a black belt and stylish black shoes, again for contrast.

The final step was to capture Stefan in images to use as promotional material in his media kit, marketing collateral and on his website. Kon and I worked closely on key poses that gave him presence and impact.

“I had an open-minded approach to my image and the relevance of a first impression, so it was exciting and confronting to consider having a makeover. I needed to remove all ego and accept open and honest communication for improving my first impression. The opportunity to learn which colours and styling ‘worked’ for me was priceless. As they say, knowledge is power. A business coach to the next generation of ‘neo-entrepreneur’, Stefan Kazakis helps to turn business ideas into profits by demanding focus and accountability for actions. Stefan believes business is an intellectual sport and must be played with a strategic game plan to win.”

A business coach to the next generation of ‘neo-entrepreneur’, Stefan Kazakis helps to turn business ideas into profits bydemanding focus and accountability for actions. Stefan believes business is an intellectual sport and must be played with astrategic game plan to win.

PR WARRIOR: Trevor Young

aa31_tunneltalk3A battle-hardened public relations and marketing communication specialist, Trevor Young, aka the PR Warrior, has 20 years of practical experience, much of it working on the consulting front line with some of Australia’s biggest companies, not-for-profit groups, sporting organisations and entrepreneurial start-ups

I strongly suggest Kay starts building her brand via the media, events and online. Crucially, she needs to determine what area or category she wants to occupy in the minds of her clients/potential clients. This is a strategic positioning that, over time, will occupy the minds of consumers, influencers and the media.

Once Kay knows what IDEALAW wants to stand for, from a positioning point of view, the goal is then to start building awareness and credibility through the various communication channels available.

Developing and maintaining a blog will give Kay a voice to the world, build visibility and credibility within the IT law sphere and help focus her point of view. I’d suggest making the blog separate to the IDEALAW website and developing a second online ‘shop front’ with a separate domain name. Go for something that describes you professionally, like ‘ITlawqueen’, and have a bit of fun!The blog can then feed into the splash page of the main website via RSS giving it a double hit.

Kay might also consider using Twitter. If you’re into IT, then you need to be visible in the ‘space’ that many IT people ‘play’ and, at the moment, that’s Twitter.

aa31_tunneltalk3_1Kay can identify the publications that her core audience reads and find a way to get into them by having a point of view and providing helpful, timely and relevant advice for readers (comment on trends, issues, etc.). Anything you do from an editorial perspective can be replicated on your blog, which in turn can be highlighted via Twitter. See how all these elements start to weave together?

Finally, and something she’s already doing to a degree, Kay needs to bring the IDEALAW brand to life via networking events, speaking engagements and, potentially, sponsorship of key industry events. PR Warrior

“At parties when people find out you’re a lawyer, they either tell you a lawyer joke (like there’s any you haven’t heard before) or tell you their woeful divorce/car accident/ripped-off-by-a-lawyer story. Is it possible to get my message out there without being lumped together with the negative clichés? This was the sort of information we needed help with. Badly.”

Kay Lam-Beattie admits she’s a lawyer but says she has a strong inner geek, too. With enough degrees to be good for something useful, Kay created IDEALAW, doing legals for the IT industry. Their motto? IDEALAW – Lawyers who get IT.

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