Category Archive for: ‘General Image’

Stop Throwing Money At “It”!

money-picI have a person very close to me who likes to throw money at situations and people.  Let’s name them “Pat”.  Over time I’ve noticed money gets thrown around when Pat  is trying to: 1) avoid a negative/painful situation (“I’ll buy the birthday gift, you go hang out with the birthday gal because I don’t want to see her”) or 2) be more loved (“I’ll buy lunch to apologize for making you come meet me where I want to each lunch”).

So in the famous words of the Beatles, if love is all we need and if money is the root of all evil, then what gives with Pat?

While we all tend to stretch for relief and love in our lives by “solving” things with money, what does it really do to your brand?

First, you must have self-awareness to look at the situation in the first place. If you can’t step back and observe yourself throwing money at others, then you can’t start to see anything differently. 

Throwing money at people and situations in order to get yourself in a better position and your brand better loved does NOT work.  Why?

Even if people end up taking your money, we can all sense your desperation in doing so.  It devalues your brand instead. No one wants to support, much less be around, desperate people.  Think about it: when was the last time you bought any product because you pitied the company? Never, I suspect.

Need more examples? Look at Uber.  Uber and Lyft spent over $8 million in a very few short months in Austin.  They were trying to get voters to shoot down Austin’s proposed fingerprinting rules for drivers.  Uber bombarded voters with phone, text, emails and calls.  Some voters were truly scared and creeped out by the level of intrusion.

In the end, Uber and Lyft lost the fight.  And they lost $8 million.  That’s what happens when you throw money at it. No one was more sad over this result than me.  I used to Uber/Lyft all around Austin on my monthly trips.  Now I’m stuck with yucky cabs or the kindness of colleagues and friends.

What about Uber and Lyft’s brand?

Some would say the companies are so big, it really doesn’t impact their brands.  Ok, so maybe there’s no fiscal impact. However, in the court of public opinion it’s different.  In the informal interviews I’ve done with locals in Austin, there’s very little love for Uber or Lyft.  When you mention either brand name, most people I’ve talked to shrug, squint and reply rather nonchalantly.  That’s what you get when you have enough money to throw at people in order to get your way.

So let’s summarize what we learned in first grade: Money does not get you your way. If you do get your way, you have no respect with it.  Your brand stinks.

What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:

  • When have you strong-armed others with money to get your way?
  • Did it work? Why did you really throw money at it?
  • How can you stop and have self-awareness of when you are throwing money at something?

Watch Your Body Language Over The Phone!


Your effective personal brand is in large part about how you communicate who you are to your target market and clientele.  Given that 78% of all communication is non-verbal AND given  that we spend so many hours on the phone selling and working, having effective body language and posture over the phone is just as critical as having effective body language during an in-person meeting.

When we are going out to see clients or prospects or to a networking event, we spend time and effort (hopefully!) on our visual appearance.  We take time to (hopefully!) give ourselves a pep talk and get ready to be “charming”.  However, people notice and pay attention to your phone voice and tone, too.   So why shouldn’t you spend time getting ready to make phone calls, too?

Your posture and how you feel about yourself as you make or take a phone call speak volumes to the other party on the call with you.  I’ve run many experiments to test this theory. We’ve had people answer the phone in a less-than pleasant mood, while slumped over in their chair wearing pajamas.  The party on the other end of the call often times remarked concern and asked, “Is everything ok? You sound not well.”  Is this how you want to be remembered on the phone?


  • Dress the part- while you don’t have to wear a suit to make a phone call, ask yourself if you’d be happy to be on a visual call while you are on the phone.  If the answer is “no”, then your phone voice and tone will resonate that same lack of self- confidence to the other party over the phone.
  • Smile as you talk.  Your smile will transfer non-visually into an effective personal brand for you over the phone.
  • Sit up straight in your chair as you talk on the phone.
  • Give your full attention to the party on the other line.  Shut down your email and do one thing at a time so you can do it well.
  • Uncross your legs so you are grounded and feel stable as you speak.
  • Listen and pause- don’t do all the talking.


What Does Your Work Interior Have To Do With Your Personal Branding?


I often walk into offices and am shocked at the surroundings.  It seems that business owners may be aware of the fact that they need to have a personal brand that resonates with their business in order to stand out and be memorable to their prospects.  HOWEVER, sometimes I wonder if they realize the interior design and layout of their business needs to have the same feel and effect.

This week’s blog post features my friend and colleague, Ekaterina (Katia) Kohlwes,  principal/designer of Mindful Design Consulting.  Katia is a dynamic and creative designer whose works speaks for itself.  As Katia so beautifully states it on her website, “great space is not branding, great feeling is”.

Below is an interview Puris did with Katia:

Puris:  How did you get into this line of work?  Why do you do it?

-Katia: Drawing and design are my passions in life! I feel that I was blessed by getting these talents probably from my parents who are very creative people. One day, long time ago, I was helping my friend to redecorate her apartment when she told me that I have a gift and that I should pursue a design career.  When I took a few interior design classes at SF City College my design professor, Jerry Chen, also commented that I have a talent and that I should get into architecture.  From there it simply unfolded by itself.  I got my first job before even finishing my design classes at the City College by merely showing my portfolio.  At jobs I was doing design work similar to what educated architects would do when I realized I do need to get a diploma to blend in with architects.  I have been in architectural design for over 16 years working for large corporate to mid-size firms.  I did get a great experience in production work, but I always felt unrealized as a designer.  I knew I could make a big difference for my clients only if I had my own design company.  So, here I am now, doing what I love the most!

Puris: What is the #1 thing you have found your clients take away from working with you (in terms of product and mindset/mentality)?

-Katia:  My clients get a professionally designed space which makes them and their customers not only look, but feel great! I look at psychological aspects when designing spaces.  What colors/style/materials would deliver a desired message to the clients?  What elements will make employees feel at home, positive and healthy? These are some questions I ask myself working on any project. Architecture around us deeply effects our emotions and even our well being. It is my job as a designer to produce positive results with whatever I design to build. I wrote a small e-book on this subject which can be found here:

Puris:  In the world of personal branding, first impressions account for everything. Why does a business’ interior matter so much? Isn’t the substance of the business the most important?

-Katia: Substance of a business is very important but most of the time it’s not tangible.  When a new client walks in to your space they immediately create their opinion about the quality of service they will receive- first impressions, as well..  Another example is, if you deliver similar products or services, your interior/exterior branding maybe the only factor separating you from your competitor.  I’ve done a simple analysis of San Diego’s Mission Valley Sears and Target stores based on this comparison.  The two stores sell almost the same products but the way they represent them is two worlds apart.  Take a look at this branding analysis here:

Puris: How does what you do tie into Puris’ business of personal branding?

– Katia: Mindful Design Consulting and Puris Image both look at the core of how businesses represent themselves. Just like self confidence of a business owner comes from the way a person looks and feels, the confidences of the whole company comes from the way it’s being physically represented to clients by its interior and exterior.  I see a lot of similarities in our work and even philosophy with Puris Image. My hope is some day to work with Puris Image on the same client from image revision of the owner to rebranding the company’s facility. That would be an exciting and an interesting project!

What Is Your Personal Branding Goal for 2011?


Another year is coming to a close.  Did you set out and achieve your goals and dreams?  As you go into 2011, stop and think about your personal branding goal for the year.  I encourage all of you to sit down and really evaluate (I suggest you meditate and don’t think too hard about it, let it evolve naturally, but do what is right for you) how you will approach the world in 2011.

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Michael Buble’, his image and brand and you.


I was at the Michael Buble’ concert a few weeks ago when he came to San Diego.  It was a wonderful concert.  He really let his personality, not only as an entertainer, but as a human being come through his performance. Several times Buble’ drew us in by mentioning how he had grown up with a vision and passion to entertain audiences with his voice.  Buble’ said he really appreciates his life and always tries to stay completely present at concerts to really take it all in.  It was charming and I completely “got” him.

I always associate the Michael Buble’ brand and image with that of a retro crooner.  The natural comparison is to the likes of Frank Sinatra and his crowd such as Dean Martin and other big band era musicians. In fact, if you just Google Buble’ and Sinatra, you will find entire blogs dedicated to their comparisons.  It is a hot topic for those into Buble’s style of music. From my business eye- it is a great thing and it obviously sells well. In fact, the Buble’ concert I attended in San Diego was sold out to a 14,000 crowd of fans of all ages.

This is perhaps the most interesting aspect of Buble’s brand and image.  As I sat there looking around with my ever-present branding/image business mind I noticed something fascinating.  I have been to many concerts in my life.  The most recent was jazz trumpeter, Chris Botti, at the end of June.   The Botti concert fan composition was homogenous in make-up- most everyone was between the age of 30 to 75, mostly caucasian and married.

The Buble’ concert fan composition was something I have not seen in a long long time.  Next to us sat a gentleman and his wife in their 70’s.  Behind us sat four screaming girls (a bit too much screaming for my taste) in their late teens/early 20’s.  In front of us sat an entire row of skater-boarders in their mid 20’s.  Next to them sat a young couple in their 30’s out on a date.  What’s more, as we entered the venue outside, I saw many people arrive on their Harley’s wearing leather pants.

What this tells me is that Buble’s image and personal branding is diverse enough to draw on multiple target markets. Many in my business may say Buble’ may not have lasting power because he doesn’t target just one niche area. However, I disagree.  The fact that Buble’ can draw on multiple target markets means that his branding and image strategy is highly effective and versatile.  Who wouldn’t want to attract multiple niche’s successfully? After all, the teens will grow up to become adult fans and his style will adapt to rebrand as necessary.

So why try to change a great thing, Michael Buble’?  What was perplexing was that as Buble’ spoke on-stage it was clear to me, as a personal branding and image strategist, that Buble’ was trying very hard to change his image and branding to move away from the association/brand of Sinatra. He even tried to draw a distinction in so many words when he brought up how he is often compared to Sinatra.  In a further effort, Buble’ would switch gears and speak to the youth crowd. Several times he used the “f” word.  He encouraged teens to scream and if someone told them to sit down, Buble’ said that the teens could say “f-you because you paid a lot of money to come to see me”.

I was really baffled.  If Buble’s camp had done their homework, they would have seen from the statistics that he is already drawing a varied crowd. By getting on stage and using the “f” word, Buble’ is risking rebranding his image toward a teen/youth market that may not be able to afford him and associate him to Sinatra as well. Why not use the Sinatra brand and strategically distinguish yourself to the crowd who remembers Sinatra and loves the Buble’ voice via a side niche, say maybe that you sing more modern songs and have a “fresher look and image”?

What does this mean for you?  Look at your personal brand and business image and see who you appeal to most.  Is there any similarity you have to a brand/business image that once was successful to which your target market associates with still?  How can you genuinely take your assets and differences and capitalize on this brand association by being memorable?  There’s no need to re-create the wheel, just adapt it.

Wish you a fabulous brand and image,


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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.