- Who & Why?
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 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?
The longer I live, the more I think about what it really means to support others and be of service to them. Where along the way do we lose that magic touch of support and service to others?
I think about this topic more lately because of the larger number of service providers we hire at work. It seems like we pay so many companies monthly for something. The latest hire really made me laugh.
This company gave a 14-day free trial offer so I could test out their software. I found myself scrambling like a maniac to really use and implement their software and test it fast. Why?
My past experiences with similar vendors have conditioned me to believe that companies will give me good service as long as I’m not a client yet. In other words, while they are wooing me in the “dating” phase, they’ll give good support and answer my questions. Once I pay up, they stick me in line with all the other customers who need support and then I won’t be able to get help with their product anymore. Even if me and my company have paid a premium to use their service.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a real life example we’ve actually tested out.
We evaluated Demand Force, a company we have used. Here are the results:
It took Demand Force ten seconds to answer sales calls- when they thought we were prospective clients wanting to buy their service. In contrast…
We were on hold 29 minutes when we became a client and had a question regarding their service and product.
Do you see a problem? I do. Does it now make sense why I was scrambling to see if I really liked my potential new vendor while they were wooing us? Sadly, yes.
What does this mean for you? Stop and think for yourself:
If you are in the role of working for one of these types of organizations:
- what kind of pre and post acquisition support do you offer clients? If it differs, by how much and why?
- What does the difference in treatment do for your overall corporate/business brand? Does your target audience get a clear and consistent brand message? Do they really get to know your company values this way?
If you are an individual working on your own brand:
- what kind of support do you offer others?
- Do you offer consistent support to those you serve?
- Or does your level of support vary? If so, how and why?
I used to identify myself with my job and career as a lawyer. Whenever anyone asked me, “who are you?” my response would start with “I’m a lawyer”. It was really unhealthy. Worse was that I had no self-awareness of what I was doing to my self-confidence, not to mention my brand. That was so long ago.
Fast forward 15 years and an entirely new career. I LOVE and absolutely have deep passion for what I do for a living. I know it is a natural expression of my talents and of who I am. The expert branding advice I give comes with ease and grace.
Ironically, today I don’t define myself as my career and job. I had to work my brand backwards to get here.
Once I retired from the practice of securities law, I literally spent two years figuring out just who I was and what I was naturally good doing for myself and for others. It was a true (and often painful) exploration of the best of “ME” with no “back” button. It was so worth it to find my brand and my self-confidence.
Once I unearthed my brand, I then worked backwards to find out what would be a good work environment and a good fit for my natural talents and abilities.
It was so much easier to do this than what I find most of us try to do instead. Here’s what I hear all the time:
“If I just find a great new career and/or job, then I’ll be happy and can work on my own brand”.
IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY. EVER. WHY? BECAUSE THAT’S NOT NATURAL.
You first have to figure out who you are and what you can naturally tap into as your ability and skill set and zest for life in helping others. From there, and only there, can you then move on to create a career or job or business that reflects your natural abilities and love for doing so for others. That is your brand.
What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
- What is that one thing you do every day that comes so very naturally to you?
- What do others compliment you most on?
- What is “it” that you are curious about in this world?
- What activity makes you the happiest?
- Now, how can you take these answers and channel them into a purpose and action that comes with ease, grace and benefits others?
Aside from being a wife and family member, I am blessed to have several leadership roles, including running a branding company. So often I’m trying to figure out how to lead well. If I trust my gut and stay self-aware, it’s easy. If I start to analyze and agonize, it quickly becomes very hard to lead- much less to stay present.
What’s the right thing to do in any leadership opportunity situation? Should I say something? Should I stay quiet and let those I lead figure it out? Should I say just a little bit but not give away the farm? What if they don’t like me anymore once I open my mouth to lead? Worse, what if they hate me?
And on and on and on….it can get maddening if I let it.
Here’s what I’ve learned through my trials and tribulations in developing a leadership brand that works for me.
First, I’ve discovered I have to have a general goal. My goal (and I recommend it for you) is to aim to have my leadership style resonate my brand. This really means making sure that your only goal is to develop a brand culture for whatever group you are leading.
This brand culture must come from values development. How? It involves the human element- does everyone you lead have their values identified? Are they allowed and proud to own their values? Do their values seep into the organization’s brand culture?
For instance, my number one value is integrity. My number two value is to have fun and be happy.
Once I’ve set my leadership branding goal, I now have a pattern to compare all my actions as a leader. This ensures my brand values (and company brand culture) syncs up with, and consistently resonate, all my leadership actions.
In the next blog, I’ll talk about what to do from this point to ensure a strong leadership brand for you and your organization/employees.
For now ask yourself:
- What are my brand values?
- Does my leadership convey my brand values?
- Do those you lead (your employees and/or colleagues) know their brand values and “own” them well?