Confessions of a customer evangelist: promoting Kawasaki

It is amazing to find that sometimes, you have been ahead of the curve and didn’t know it. I worked in a neighborhood bookstore as part of my "portfolio career" (a.k.a.,lots of jobs; little money) in 2002-2003. I was going to graduate school full-time and making the break from corporate life to consultancy. One of the benefits of my $8/hour job was access to pre-release copies of books. I was the only one in the shop that gravitated to the business books, and by now you know that I’m going to tell you that Creating Customer Evangelists… was one of the treasures I found. I recommended it several times, and even loaned it to someone who probably didn’t "get-it," ‘cuz I need to buy another copy after sending the link to a client!

Truth be told, I’m not comfortable with the "good news" connotation of customer evangelism, but the idea that clients are likely to enthusiastically promote my services if I make it easy for them to do so is almost a "no, duh."  I incorporated the term, "buzz," into my vocabulary; I even had to define and defend it in a presentation at Temple University. My sense of urgency about this now stems from yesterday’s global summit honoring "The Brand Called You," the 1997 Fast Company article that I’ve been sending to prospective clients for several years. To kick-off the 12-hour teleseminar (it was recorded, so look for it online), Guy Kawasaki facilitated an excellent session, "Evangelizing Evangelists to Build a Business and Build Your Brand."

Few business books stay with you the way this one has for me. This book’s authors are Ben McDonnell and Jackie Huba; Kawasaki wrote the forward and introduces the book’s discussion of customer evangelism and viral marketing through engaging case studies (no dull Harvard Business School  curriculum for you). I recall the one about Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, and will have to wait to get another copy of the book to remember the rest. Okay, so I guess I am sharing "the good news" after all.  Buy the book; tell ‘em Karen sent you!

(As a cyclist, I had to add the picture of "Bike Friday," one of the products that has been successfully marketed through customer evangelism – not sold through retail bike shops!)    Bike_friday_customer_evangelism_2_3

Blogs can be an authentic voice: post it, read it, comment on it, share it

I’m still a novice in the Web 2.0 world, so I spent the day with my headset on, listening to many of the seminars offered by the sponsors of the Brand You World – 2007 Global Summit.  While multi-tasking as I was tuned-into the speakers, I discovered an amazingly honest post about depression, written by Jason Alba of Sametorelievedepression

This post is a must-read for anyone who has felt like a "psycho-ceramic" as a result of career-related disappointment or defeat; a layoff or termination; a constructive quit or forced resignation.  While I was aware of Jason’s resurrection from unemployed software engineer to entrepreneur, I didn’t realize how profoundly the period of unemployment affected him.  The good news is that this guy who I’ll call, "The Energizer Brand-Man," has feelings and is uncommonly able and willing to share them. 

I am proud to be selected as a strategist and partner by people like Jason, who are looking to open a door to the wild world of corporate employment. While I empathize with them, I add value to their search by staying focused on innovative strategies and solutions to end their pain. Jason’s success proves that humility, self-reflection, and a willingness to try new approaches are powerful tools that can be integrated into your brand and your presentation. 

Please read more about Jason’s story, take-in the comments of other career professionals and counselors, and comment about your own experiences: sharing anonymously online may be cathartic. If you aren’t convinced that humility and self-reflection are effective tools, check out one of my previous posts, Truthfulness as a Job Search Strategy.  Jason is a self-made brand; learn from him and with him.

Online Identity & Personal Marketing – FREE teleseminars Nov. 8th

Time to really accelerate your career transition and job search through 12 hours of FREE teleseminars on Thursday, November 8, 2007.   Image003

Billed as a tribute to the Fast Company article written by Tom Peters in 1997, this event is a global 12-hour marathon.  Programs begin at 10am EST; all will be recorded, so you can return to this site to hear programs you missed during the scheduled summit. 

Log on when you can and listen to "the big dogs" of the personal branding movement that was spawned by The Brand Called You as they offer perspectives and strategies for building and maintaining your career health.

New CAN clients have received this Tom Peters article from me ever since I started my own business; this online audio tribute is an opportunity to listen to someone other than me flap their gums about it! Check-out the schedule at Jason Alba’s Jibber Jobber Blog.

Sponsors of the summit are asking that participants donate to, an organization that promotes  microfinance – a means to build a sustainable economy in the developing world through loans to specific entrepreneurs.  Your donations will be bundled into loans to
provide affordable working capital; funds will empower individual entrepreneurs to
earn their way out of poverty. (FYI – My son, Rob, has been involved in the field of sustainable enterprise for the last three years; sign up for an RSS feed to the Development through Enterprise/Next blog and learn about the work of this NGO, based in Washington, DC (World Resources Institute).

Let’s create some buzz about the Personal Branding Summit - comment about the sessions you found helpful and those you didn’t; share your reactions and reflections with others at Career Acceleration Notes.

A voice for CAN clients – past, current, future…

Hi! This is Karen, Founder of the Career Acceleration Network (CAN), a career consulting group based in Philly.  We work with career changers of all flavors: professionals, executives, women returning to the workforce, and "Boomers." 

Who is Karen?

People describe me as a Career Strategist:  a writer, researcher, networker, and motivator.  You can read about my background and credentials on my website and via (

What makes CAN special? What’s our USP?
The fact that you are reading this weblog demonstrates our USP…we are passionate about creating a sense of community among career change stakeholders.  The goal is to create a group dynamic between CAN clients – past, present, and future – and other like-minded people, including those in career transition, those looking for talented people, and career professionals.

Why should you read and contribute to the CAN-blog?

CAN offers a wealth of resources, and we are humble enough to know that we can’t be all things to all people all the time.  It is through this online community that you have access to a huge body of information, new ideas, and feedback. 

Your ROI is multipled exponentially by the power of the Internet. This weblog will connect you to safe and secure sites where you can learn from others, including colleagues in the career transition business.

2006 was the year that Career Acceleration Network (CAN) inaugurated our brick and mortar networking initiative, "Schmoozing for Success."  2007 is the year of the CAN-blog!

With your participation (and patience as we tackle the technical gremlins), we’ll demonstrate that the stakeholders involved in career change CAN achieve more by "doin’ the blog…"

P.S. Look for entries on other respected sites, including the new weblog of CMI (Career Masters Institute) and these:

To paraphrase Charles Kurault, "see ya on the weblog…"

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