Featured Member Monday: Meet Michael Clingan

Michael Clingan
Professional Organizational Catalyst
Founder of the Claymore Group

Freelancers work far from the cubicles and constraints of the typical corporate structure. Most of us can’t imagine having to consult with the marketing department before we answer a question about our company, or worrying about whether sales is playing nicely with R&D. Nevertheless, that’s the reality for most of today’s medium to large-size companies. There are a lot of moving parts, and most of the time, executives are too close to the issues to realize why and how they need to change.

That’s where Michael Clingan comes in.  He helps groups think about their purpose, goals, and constraints in ways both creative and logical. Michael’s clients are often marketing, sales or leadership teams that need to create a new level of dialog, either internally or with their customers. Sometimes these sessions are strategic marketing interventions designed to quickly increase a companies sales without new products or discounting. Although his professional life often takes him deep into the belly of the corporate beast, we love the fact that Michael chooses to accomplish many of his tasks in our cozy little coworking space! Sometimes perspective can be everything, and according to Michael, working in a collaborative environment helps keep his sharp.

How did you hear about Cohere? Saw a little blurb in Northern Colorado Business Review and drove an hour to check it out.
When did you join? The day after my free visit.
What’s your favorite part about Cohere? The ability to engage at will with people who, while they’re usually doing something way way different than me, have the same work values.
Favorite past time? Travel and spending time with our 2 and 9 year-old daughters.
What’s something we don’t know about you? My first consulting gig was with “Unsolved Mysteries” as a technical adviser  We filmed in a swamp, in the rain, for four days.

Come meet Michael and our entire coworking community! Sign up for a free day pass here

Cohere, Branding and Brand

I recently became a member of Cohere, a collaborative workgroup in the Old Town area of Fort Collins, Colorado. Cohere provides the infrastructure of a corporate environment (only lots hipper and with great coffee) and is designed for the flexible workstyles of independent contractors and consultants.

While there are conference rooms and private areas, most of the action at Cohere takes place in an open office where you’re surrounded by all kinds of cool people working on their own stuff. You can feed off of the group energy and be super productive, sample from what’s going on around you and learn something, or participate in the free wheeling, mostly business oriented, discussions.

To make things even better, and in my case irresistibly so, these cool people know lots of things I don’t and see other things in fresh new ways. There are no office politics so opinions flow freely.

Some of the Cohere folks are designers of the marketing communications and web persuasion. They create powerful images and user experiences. I wouldn’t have a clue where to start on many of their projects.

Yet, as it turns out, their work and mine are closely related.

They deal with Branding. In my work, I deal with Brand. What’s the difference? If you check a few marketing books or Google both words the results are so confusing you’ll probably wish you’d just accepted that the “ing”-thing was it and gotten on with your life.

My take as a Marketing Physicist is a little simpler:

Branding is about creating the interface between a buyer or user and the organization providing a product or service. Branding attracts and then provides an emotional and intellectual shortcut – we interact with Branding through our five senses and our brain says, “I feel I know them” and hopefully even “I think I know what to expect from them.”

Brand, on the other hand, is what happens inside of the envelope created by Branding. Brand is the sum total of how well a company keeps its promises to its customers.

Brand has three major parts that a company controls: the desired marketing position, a compelling market offer or promise to prospective customers, and competently and predictably keeping that promise.

My personal focus is on the second part – I help companies discover unmet customer needs and create new, high margin, market offers to address those needs. I also help in the positioning and operational performance areas at the request of some clients.

Every week, while I work at Cohere helping companies with their Brand, my Cohere neighbors are working their Branding magic to make a Brand attractive, accessible, current and clear. We work together, for different clients, in a hip place without a cubical in sight. Oh, and with great coffee.

And if I have questions about my website, I know who to ask.

Michael Clingan can be reached at Michael@theclaymoregroup.com or at 970-613-0923.

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