Introducing Tenacity5 Media

The Lady Soleil logo and naming kerfuffle a couple of weeks ago sent me in a different direction. Since then I developed and built a new brand for my company, “Tenacity5 Media.”

What does Tenacity5 Media mean? Tenacity and media are self evident, but the five is unique to me. The number represents the five principles I believe brands should keep an undying focus on to achieve their missions. They form the core of my company’s mission to develop great marketing campaigns.

The five tenacity maxims are:

1) Courage: Companies must be strong in the face of fear. Bold marketing wins, while safe approaches often guarantee middle-of-the-pack performance, or worse.

2) Resilience: Marketing takes time. Quick successes validate programs and are necessary, but to win a community’s loyalty, companies need to commit for the long haul. Smart brands attend to the now while building for the future.

3) Attentiveness: In an attention economy that depends on what others say about you, companies need an unrelenting focus on the customer. From research to outreach to service, marketing revolves around the customer experience.

4) Fluidity: Technology and media are in a consistent state of flux. As a result, norms for communication also change continually. Companies must adapt to evolving media.

5) Mindfulness: Every company is made up of people, and every person lives in a larger world. Our actions create impact, both positive and negative. Mindful companies build products and services that contribute to the larger welfare of our collective community.

Moving forward, you can see the company’s web site. It includes the services my company will offer in the near term. There are also links to Tenacity5’s Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter pages. While a Facebook page has been created, I am not going to maintain it in the short term.

The Tenacity5 Media brand is a trademark of Lady Soleil, Inc., which was the fastest most affordable way to approach the rebrand. As my independent publishing is also maintained by the company, I intend to build out a Lady Soleil, Inc. web site to explain the business and claim its brands publicly.

I do want to thank everyone for their feedback. And I want to thank Aaron Mahnke at Wet Frog Studios for his quick work on the logo. In the end, I feel like I ended up with a brand that is much more authentic and representative of my approach towards marketing and media.

Will There Be Any Difference?

Tenacity5 represents my third attempt at scaling a company. The first concluded with the sale of Livingston Communications to CRT/Tanaka (now Padilla/CRT). The second ended for me when the three founders of Zoetica split ways.

It’s fair to ask, what will be different about Tenacity5?

First, I have zero intention of ever selling the company, or bringing on equity partners. Never say never, but there is no exit plan, rather a commitment to build something to last through the decades. I don’t enjoy employment, and I know this intrinsically. This is my path.

Second, I want to scale this company, and build something significantly larger than a boutique shop. In studying others who have built social media empowered agencies of 30 or more people over the past decades, I have noticed a unifying characteristic: They focus relentlessly on contributing to the market with ideas and best practices. At the same time, they tend not to get distracted or caught up in the day-to-day hubris of the sector. They rise above politicking and gossip even though they may be the subject of it. Some are A-listers, others are not.

This personal brand/reputation issue has been a problem in the past.

Personal attention can become an unnecessary distraction on the road to corporate growth. You can have both, but I see many A-Listers with really small boutiques, and as many large agencies with no well known employee in the blogosphere. Building a company around an omnipresent personality can be helpful, but it is not a necessary component of attracting customers and building a scaleable company.

Third, in the past my efforts included an unfortunate tendency to keep projects too long; specifically, employees and clients who did not perform well. These difficulties were crippling (in my opinion).
In the past I cared too much about those that should have moved on, and kept investing in them, partly out of guilt. By doing so I excerbated situations and probably made them exponentially worse. I think all parties suffered greatly as a result.

This is a core business issue. Effective business managers let people go when they aren’t working out. Building a great business revolves around hiring strong talent that delivers, nothing less and nothing more. A great executive knows this, and manages their roster accordingly.

You can always help someone after they leave with decent severance, out-placement, references, etc. And doing unlikeable things is part of any job.

What principles govern your business?

Confessions of a Start-Up Junky

Geoff Livingston in Palermo

Confession: Giddy joy pervades my fingertips these days. The reason? The challenge of starting anew.

See, I’m a start-up junky. And next week my two partners and I are launching our newco. I can’t wait!

I’ve been engaged in start-ups since 1996, when I joined CommunicationsNow as an editor to successfully launch several publications serving the wireless industry. Then I did a stint as media relations manager for a dot-bomb in Southern California called IPNet Solutions.

This past decade saw the successful launch of Widmeyer‘s Design & Advertising practice. After that I helped get Sage Communications‘ PR practice off the ground. And most recently, I started, built and sold Livingston Communications, a social media boutique.

The Next Venture

So with my sixth venture (second as owner), what have I learned? What five suggestions will I bring to the table that will benefit my partners and clients?

1) Do what you love! Most people hate their jobs, but if you own your own company, then that’s your fault. In fact, it’s all your fault. There’s no one to blame, so make it worth loving!

2) Love your critics/enemies, too. Plenty of naysayers out there will tell you that it will be hard, that most newcos fail, etc. This time, it’s “Well, the economy is not that great,” or “Your focus won’t yield the most cash.” These people should be seen as a) sources of information about possible weaknesses that you can address, and b) points of inspiration.

Listen to criticism even if it burns. They may be right about your offering, and don’t you want to address that?

Conversely, I always love winning when I’ve been told it’s unlikely or impossible. When I receive resistance from naysayers, it only fuels me. To me, success comes from personal commitment to achieving a goal as opposed to what other people tell me I should be or can achieve. Many times the reasons find basis in their own fears.

3) Play to your weaknesses. If you’re not good at something, own it. Then outsource it or hire people to fill that role. In this new entity, my partners’ strengths play to my weaknesses and vice versa. I am very grateful for that. Now I can focus on areas that I truly excel in.

4) Embrace failure. Most of the companies I’ve been involved with sustained themselves or were sold, so ultimate failure is not my experience. Failing is. Failure in ventures always happens, but serves as the experience necessary for improvement and excellence. The question isn’t whether you will fail or have disappointments. It’s how fast can you get up, and evolve.

5) Don’t get set on facts. Markets change, people change, situations change, everything changes. The only thing in life and business that you can be certain of is change. Be ready to handle the comings and goings of relationships and situations. Impermanence is the rule of thumb.

That’s my big five, the rest stay in my head for now. But if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, please read Pam Slim’s Escape from Cubicle Nation. It’s the best book I’ve read on the topic.