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People Buy Your Uniqueness Before They Ever Buy Your Product Or Service. What's Your Uniqueness & How Do You Market It?

Are you leading with your “why”?


QMpxHave you ever wondered if people really care what you do for a living?  I go to so many events where people stand up to introduce themselves and lead with what they do- “I’m a lawyer, I’m a dentist, I’m a CPA, I’m an engineer”.  Blah blah blah.

Do you really think that you will captivate us, inspire us and have us remember you this way?  In a world where it seems every other person is a coach, lawyer, doctor, accountant or engineer, who really cares that you are one, too?

So a few days ago I posted a video from a few years back by Simon Sinek where he explains the reason your “why” is so much more important than your “what”.   I love this video because it helps me explain why your personal brand is so important. Even better, Simon’s video articulates my entire personal branding mission and work so well.

The point is that your “why” is the sweet spot.  It is where I get to have that emotional connection with you.  If I “get” your why immediately, then your personal brand is optimal: I remember you, I feel a connection to you, I am inspired by you, you seem credible and I’m much more motivated to get to know you….and hire you or refer you or promote you.

The reason most people do not lead with their “why” is because they do not know their why.  Often they are so involved in the substantive work, they cannot be bothered with superfluous stuff like the why.  Or it is too painful to really look inside to figure out the why. I’m not going to kid you- we spend TONS of time in so many different ways with clients so that they can find, own and build a brand around their “why”.

So, what is your “why” around what you do?  Email me your answer and I’ll help you develop it offline.

Is Your Personal Brand Stuck At the Top?


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.


Are You A “Closet Professional”? Get Your Horn Out & Toot It!


Inherent to the personal branding process is the ability to be able to know your uniqueness, own it and let others know it.  Of course, if this was easy to do everyone would be an expert at personal brand management, have more business and be happier in general.

Yet, as I always say, we find that people have a hard time being outstanding and shining brightly AND letting others know it.  Inherently, the problem is low self-confidence.  Therefore, we become “closet professionals” as I like to call it.  We go around hoping someone will somehow notice how great we are, like us and then hire us.

Last week I had the pleasure of hearing a speech by Edith Ramirez, the Chairwoman of the FTC.  She spoke at a local female lawyers luncheon.  Ramirez is a bright and capable lawyer,  having been on law review at Harvard with President Obama.

At the heart of her talk was the concept that women and minorities are not good at marketing themselves, or tooting their own horns.  She highlighted how an essential part of being a good attorney is having self-confidence, something we directly measure for our personal branding clientele.  If you are not self-confident about what you do, clients will feel it.

Ramirez stated that it is ok to say, “I’m good. Hire me!”

So how good are you at saying, “I’m good. Hire me”?  Do you have self-confidence and passion around your profession, be it a lawyer or otherwise?  If not, why not? 

Should Celebrities Have A Real Say As Brand Endorsers?


It’s always been the case that celebrities are signed on to endorse products and services because their popularity and brand has power over consumers to persuade us to buy what they are endorsing.  Oddly enough, we want to buy into the celebrity lifestyle.  We unfortunately assume that if we buy Nike products, we’ll be more of a pro golfer like Tiger Woods.  It’s all part of the emotional “joy” factor that I write so much about.

But there’s a new twist developing on this concept it seems.  Celebrities are no longer just figureheads.  Now these ‘titled” brand endorsers are being asked to have real weigh-in on the products and services they endorse.  The real question is why?  Do you really want Kim Kardashian to weigh-in on shoes or clothes or perfume content??!

No longer is it enough for a celebrity to do a commercial for their “favorite” coffee or clothing label, get their big check and call it a day.  Now, they are being given real titles and asked for input into product development.

I believe some of the titles don’t mean anything.  However, the concept is a smart one. In brand management, it is all about establishing that emotional connection with your audience- whoever is buying your product.  Thus, if the celebrity has real input, or so we perceive they do, then as the audience we are that much more likely to be connected emotionally and invested in the product because the celebrity has their hands in it for “real” and the endorsement means more to us.

This concept is on the rise because society is jaded, post-Bernie Madoff, Enron recession.  We are looking for genuine connection to genuine brands and people.  We are really trying to put our hard-earned money where it counts- for us and for others.

So what does this mean for you?  Well, if you are running a business, stop and think about how you can put this concept to use for your business success.  You don’t need a celebrity endorsement.  Just start thinking of your own celebrity-like personal brand power and how you can use it to sell quality and bring about emotional joy.  If you are looking for a job, figure out how your own celebrity-like brand power can work to your benefit during the interview to get you that job.


Tips On How To Use Your Brand Well On The Phone


Whether you are having a phone interview or having a call with a prospect or client, your brand comes through via the phone just as much as it does in person.  Think back to the last call you had with someone who didn’t “sound” happy or well-put together or competent on the phone.  You noticed.  So others notice you, as well.

Here are a few tips for keeping your personal brand pristine over the phone.  Just because I can’t actually see you, doesn’t mean I can’t feel or deduce what’s going on with you and your business.

1.  Sit upright in your chair- we’ve done the research and the tone of your voice changes as you slump down.  You sound less self-confident (because you may be less confident when you slump) and we can’t hear you as well. You wouldn’t slump in-person, so make sure your spine is in line with your head.

2. Wear something nice- you don’t have to wear a suit, but shower, do your hair and wear something that makes you feel professional and good about answering questions. You need to feel competent.  This is particularly for you who tele-commute or run home-based businesses. This is especially true if you are having a phone interview.

3. If you have to pause to think of an answer, just say so to avoid dead airtime over the phone.  Remember, the other party can’t see that you are thinking of a response.

4. Smile- even though you are on the phone and the other party can’t see you, they can tell from your voice (see #1) that you are smiling or not.  Smiling will lift your own mood and make you positive.  At the end of the day, we only want to talk to (and hire or give business to) positive people.

First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.