- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘Corporate Image’
I went to my 6am spin class this morning. I do my best to show up every Monday. We have two fans in the spin room- one in front and one in back. Many people love working out with the fan right on them to cool them down. Many of us (me included) don’t like the cold wind/breeze on us. It dries out my eyes and I can’t catch my breath as I ride.
So many instructors have a rule: if you want the fan on you, then go sit in the back part of the room because the fan in the front of the room does not get turned on. Those of us who don’t want the fan on us, sit up front.
Today there was a new person in class. He sat right next to me up front. Ten minutes into class, he got up and turned on…the front fan! You got it, that’s a no-no.
However, this particular instructor does NOT have a “fan rule” for her class. Every once in a while an argument flares up- like this morning- over whether the fan should be on or not. If she just had a fan rule, then the students wouldn’t have to be making one up for her. It’s not our job, or our right, to do so.
What does all this have to do with your impact at work and in your entire life?
Courageous brands win. Having courage means being able to increase your level of “confront” and set rules and boundaries. Having courage means looking me in the eye with kindness and a sheer sense of calm and peace and stating your opinion and needs and….fan rules.
In so many corporations when this level of courageous confront does NOT happen, what happens is chaos.
I’ve seen so many managers not be able to set boundaries or rules. Nor do they enforce them. It’s natural for us to all want to be loved and accepted. The problem is the result is often not love. When we don’t increase our confront, it leads to confusion and poor communication in the workplace. The result is low productivity and low revenues.
Believe it or not, people like rules. We just don’t like it when the rules are shoved down our throat. So courageous brands also communicate in a 1) kind and 1) direct manner. Communicating without kindness, and just being direct, is being brash. No one loves a brash brand.
So stop and ask yourself:
- How do you communicate at work? Is it kind and direct?
- How do you work to ensure your level of confront is high enough so that you have quality boundaries such that you are allowing you and your colleagues to be productive, happy and in excellent communication at work?
In the brand development world, the goal is to create a brand culture that resonates the business brand well with clients and your audience. This goal involves the most important attribute of any business- its’ employees.
To that end, I’m always working with employees to develop a sound individual brand- one that vibes with, and lends itself well to, the brand culture that will make the business succeed emotionally. There are so many factors we address with employees because there are so many contributing factors to employees “owning” their best brand and being happy at work.
One factor that doesn’t get much airtime is the actually physical office setting and structure/layout of the office. I think people assume two things: 1) who cares? sit in your office or in a cubicle- just get the work done; or 2) Google had it right- everyone in all offices are better off sitting in an open-office format because Google does it.
A lawyer client of mine was commenting last week about how her office is switching formats in their actual office layout- instead of high cubicles, they will now have an open-office (bull-pen) style format. She was really worried about morale and the spread of gossip and a deteriorating brand for her firm.
Was she right? I think so.
Some business cultures (and types of businesses/professions, dare I say?) do not lend themselves well to certain business processes. I would agree with my client; law firms are not the best atmospheres to introduce open-office formats. A 2013 survey found that such offices often lead to distractions that decreased performance. In the world of law firms, I define “distractions” as gossip and posturing for power among employees.
In addition, in law firms you need privacy for certain transactions and the type of work we do as lawyers involving client confidentiality. The counter-argument is that staff in open-office layouts are easier to “watch” and monitor. Indeed- and this in an of itself could lead to low morale and a disjointed brand culture. After all, unless an employee has given you reason to not trust them, why don’t you trust them to not watch them all day long?
What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
- What type of brand culture and environment do you work in?
- Does the physical layout of your offices lend itself to a healthy brand culture? Why or why not?
- What type of business do you work in? If it is something like the practice of law, consider the personalities and type of work that is done, then create the physical atmosphere.
I love the Olympics. Summer, Winter, all of it. It doesn’t matter to me the sport or the level of competition. Thinking back, I’ve always loved the Olympics. Not only was it inspirational to me as a little girl to see the athletes, it was fun to get into the spirit of the celebration of working on a dream and setting out to achieve it.
Nowadays in my family, we still get excited to watch the Olympics. And there’s more of a reason to love the games.
My husband and I have both developed a theory around the Olympics: The Olympics are good for our individual brands AND for business brands. How? Why?
Consider that 78% of everything you and I buy is NOT based on the content, but on how the service provider or product makes us feel. The only emotion that matters, sells, influences, attracts and engages is happiness.
The Olympics are high-toned and happy. For the two weeks or so that the Olympics are on, the world is a happier place. As a result, people are more motivated- motivated to help one another, to cheer one another on, to take care of themselves and be happier.
As a dentist, each Olympic season my husband notes a noticeable difference in his patients’ tone and willingness to take care of their teeth and oral health.
People are better brands. They (consciously or subconsciously) want to be better and be a part of something greater than just themselves. The Olympics fosters teamwork and support, which then leads to better business brands.
How could you not watch the athletes, hear the stories of the years of sacrifice and training they have made and not want more for yourself, your family, your business and your colleagues/career?
Contrast this with politics and the 2016 Vote. Blech…
The Olympics have been such a nice respite from the mud-slinging, fake-ness and low-toned campaigns we have to endure. That’s all we hear about. As a former lobbyist in Washington DC, I didn’t like it then. As a branding expert, I really don’t like it now. Nothing about politics is high-toned, including the candidates’ brands.
What does this mean for you?
• If you have a business/are an entrepreneur, take notice of how your business does during the Olympics. You should show a sign of increasing profits and sales. This would be the optimal time to take the momentum generated by the Olympics and boost your employees’ morale and drive – this will impact retention and production.
• If you work for an organization, notice how the staff and your colleagues are performing. This would be the optimal time to take the momentum generated by the Olympics and create a brand culture based on values and what drives your team as people.
• Stop and notice your own brand. Do you and your brand sell happiness at some level by showing up as happy? You should be happier and more motivated to allow success in your life. Take this extra brand boost and run with it for these two weeks. Hopefully, it will become a habit for you beyond the Olympics.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Call or email me to discuss how to harness your own brand and that of your teams’ brand to be optimal and happier and succeed more.
I often share with my audiences that I’m an immigrant. It’s always so interesting to me to acknowledge that what once seemed a sad reality in my life (I got beaten up for being an immigrant more than once, that I can remember!) has become a point of interest and reflection for my audiences and clients.
In brand development, I speak of the need to be self-aware of your own brand. A secondary benefit of becoming more self-aware is that you also learn to become better aware of others- what are they doing that works well and/or doesn’t work well? Why and how?
I was a speaker last week at the annual Million Dollar Roundtable (MDRT) conference in New Orleans. One of the other speakers was Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist who wrote the bestseller, The World Is Flat.
Friedman made a wonderful point encouraging the 10,000 audience members (all within the top 1% of financial professionals worldwide) to identify their extra, non-routine human dimensions. In my opinion, it is these human dimensions that allow us to serve our clients well, from a heart-centered perspective- as effective brands.
Among many, Friedman discussed two of the rules to reach this non-routine human dimension: 1) to always think like a new immigrant, even if you are not an immigrant and 2) always think like an entrepreneur, whatever your job may be.
Why new immigrants and entrepreneurs? New immigrants are motivated, eager and resilient. They often see opportunity where others may miss it. The same logic applies to entrepreneurs’ mentality.
I can still remember the first few years of being a new immigrant. While the world around me was so confusing, particularly as a six-year old girl, it was also very exciting and different. It seemed like there were endless possibilities and avenues. It wasn’t until Friedman talked that I realized the new immigrant mentality is always in me, even 37 years later and, helping to make me a great brand.
I’m also that entrepreneur that Friedman mentions. As a former non-entrepreneur, I LOVE being an entrepreneur. It’s a great brand and a great mentality. I wake up every day wondering what opportunity will come my way to make someone’s day better and set them up for success as a brand.
Whenever someone says “no” to me, my new immigrant and entrepreneur mentality kick in. I rarely skip a beat. I rarely get upset or feel rejected. Instead, I just assume they are not ready to work with us/my company, just yet. I wish them well and move on. After all, I’m on a mission. I don’t get to quit. I’d be a liar if I didn’t acknowledge that every once in a while I have a bad day and pout. But those days are few and far in between.
What does this mean for you?
- Have you ever really stopped to look around you at your own mentality everyday?
- Do you have what Friedman calls the “new immigrant and entrepreneur” mentality, even if you are not an immigrant or entrepreneur?
- Regardless of what you do for a “job”, “living” or “business”, what really drives you to keep your human dimension as a brand?
I recently had a corporate client point out to me a very interesting observation. She works for the CEO of a very large corporation. The CEO is all about corporate culture and having the brand of the company match the personal brands of all employees. However, it seems that this concept- and the brand- is stuck at the top of her organization with her CEO.
What does that mean? Well, even in organizations where the CEO is forward-thinking and understands the relevance of personal branding and managing to your organization and employees’ personal brands, things go awry. In this case, the CEO’s office established the “rules” around the brand and culture. The problem became having management and their direct reports implement and cultivate this brand and culture.
What good is brand and culture, if there is no follow-up to make sure everyone: 1) understands it and 2) applies it to see benefits? In other words, it is not enough for the CEO and upper management to be aboard the personal branding train.
So what does this mean for you? Well, even if you run a small business or are an employee- look around. Is personal branding and brand management really understood with clarity across your business? Is that knowledge then applied with consistency across all employees so that we all get the same feel for what you do for a living? If not, take a step back and see if the personal brand and brand overall got ‘stuck at the top’ somehow. You don’t have to have a large organization to have a problem with concepts being stuck at the top. There must be a plan to have the branding message filter down and span out to your target market- regardless of your size or position in any organization.