Guest post for SMBMSP by Amber L. Carter
Middle of the road is for road kill” – @down2earth2
“Forget b to b, b to c, business is h to h (humans!).” – @KMFitzgerald
“People don’t like fake people, people don’t like fake brands either.” – @MerbearMN
“Your followers will watch you fall on your own sword. Your community will fall on that sword for you.” – (me!)
These are just a few of the favorite salty snippets the 70+ attendees of our last SMBMSP After Hours grabbed on to Thursday evening, September 13, when they came Upstairs at Stanley’s to hear Erika Napoletano (the fire-y voice behind RedheadWriting.com and the author of the new book, The Power of UnPopular: A Guide to Building Your Brand For The Audience Who Will LOVE You (And Why No One Else Matters) ) deliver a tongue-lashing full of unabashed honesty and blunt, no b.s. advice on how to build a brand the right way.
As anyone who reads RedHeadWriting knows, Erika has a knack of capturing your attention by delivering a bitch slap that not only knocks your bogus business beliefs and moronic marketing mantras on their asses, but she does it with so much style and grace that you want to thank her for slapping you.
And then you wanna ask for another.
And she didn’t disappoint… after talking about what it really meant to be unpopular in the current world of digital business and brands, she dispensed with guidelines and principles on the right way to build a professional or personal brand so that it reflects who you really are, and therefore attracts the kind of community who will love what you do and how you do it.
Sounds refreshing, yes?
Speaking of refreshments (see what I did there? That’s a copywriter’s trick we like to call “the smooth segueway.” Hire me.)… guests also enjoyed cocktails and dreams dispensed by event sponsor Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room, and were each given a complimentary copy of Erika’s book. After the presentation and illuminating Q&A session, each attendee had the opportunity to get their book personally signed by Erika (which, for a few lucky people, also included a drawing of a hedgehog. Read her blog and follow her on Facebook to find out why) and were invited to join her and the event organizers to Psycho Suzi’s for some after-after-hours cocktails and conversation.
We would be remiss in saying that this is when the real fun started, because it was all fun.
But… this was really, really fun.
Our main motivation for choosing Psycho Suzi’s – besides the desire to feed our famished guest like any good Minnesotan hosts – was so that we could introduce Erika to the two edible jewels on the PS menu: Deviled Eggs and Pickle Rolls (you may also know them as ghetto sushi, white trash salad, pickle wraps… THE NAME IS NOT IMPORTANT. As Shakespeare once said, “Pickle slices wrapped in cream cheese and ham by any other name would taste just as great.”). Erika was delighted to close the gap on the unexamined life by trying these church-basement-famous delicacies, and attendees were delighted with the opportunity to have a no-holds-barred, up-close-and-personal conversation with the sharpest redhead on the interwebs today.
You can also read more about Erika’s take on the evening by catching her excellent post “On Making Believers Out of Skeptics“ on RedHeadWriting.com (warning: you may want to have a tissue handy – this one’s a bit of a weeper).
Thank you so much to all of our ridiculously awesome event sponsors – Kane Consulting, Clockwork Active Media Systems, Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA), CoCo Coworking & Collaborative Space, Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room – and all who registered and attended.
And thank you, Erika Napoletano, for coming to our Nice state and sharing your fire-y personality and fresh perspective with us. You are the Tabasco to our Hotdish.