All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘branding’

Relatability Part II: Great Brands Are Basic

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Over the years I’ve learned one thing for sure.  I’ve learned that because we are human, we tend to complicate everything…constantly. In particular, in my world of brand development I watch clients struggle with their brand and how to relate to their clients and prospects.

I’m guilty of the same thing, so I really get it.  For years, I struggled with how to tie in the fact that I was a former, successful securities lawyer with being a people branding/marketing expert.  What the heck did one have to do with the other and why would anyone believe me?  What if people thought I was a fraud? Worse yet, was I a fraud?  It wasn’t until I really came into my own “being” a branding expert that I got that the two careers/concepts can co-exist very well.  I realized that being a securities lawyer was a very natural basis for being a branding and marketing expert.  Guess what- others believed it, too.

Just the other day, I had a client who used to be a super-star college football player.  His career was on such a course for success that the media talked about not “if”, but “when” he was going to get drafted and by whom.  Fast forward 15 years later and he is not playing football.  He is in professional services. His big struggle: there is no relating my past as a football player with my work in professional services.  He was frustrated.

So I just asked him to start telling me about what a typical football game was like for him and what his methodology, or state of mind, was on the field.  As he started to talk, a curious thing happened: his eyes lit up, he became animated, he sat up taller and had real clarity and conviction- and dare I say….confidence!  The next thing that happened was even more fabulous- he naturally took my nonverbal cue and started to tie in his mentality for success on the football field with what he does for his clients right now.

It made perfect sense to me. His explanation and analogy was relevant, easy to follow and left him very relatable for me.  I got it, I got him, I got his brand, and by extrapolation I could see that his expertise on the football field made him an expert in his current occupation.  I liked him and related to him!

So what does this mean for you?  Always go back to what you know best and make it relatable to your current situation/career/audience.  Don’t get hung up and make things complex- keep it simple.  Just because football and professional services are not often viewed together does NOT mean that you are not relatable in tying in your expertise in both areas.

For example, do you love to cook? Maybe you are even really an expert at cooking, even if your “day job”/career is being a lawyer.   Start tying in your ability to cook with your ability to be a great lawyer. Just start talking about the latest dish you made and why. You’ll start to see that your mentality in approaching a situation (i.e., your brand value) is what’s valuable to both being a cook and a lawyer.

Anytime you go back to the basics of your expertise and love of anything, you can become easily relatable to clients and prospects in your current field.  

Is Greatness Part of Your Brand?

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barbara-stanny-sacred-success-course-in-miraclesHave you ever stopped to think about how great you really are?  Today’s blog post is really simple and short.  I just want you all to stop and think about how great you are and how you can own your own and leverage it as a brand.

As I often teach, effective brands project self-confidence.  To project self-confidence, you must first be self-confident.  One of the easiest ways to start being self-confident is to recognize how great you are.

I’ve been reading a wonderful book (a gift from a client!) called, Sacred Success, by Barbara Stanny.  In it Stanny encourages us to  own our Greatness. Stanny says the primary goal of Sacred Success is Greatness, which she defines as pursuing your purpose for your own bliss and the benefit of others.

Her definition ties right into personal branding.  Effective brands are happy and sell happiness.  That’s the only emotion that matters.  So if you have a purpose that puts you in bliss (happiness!), then you benefit, others benefit and there’s your Greatness.

For me it is not always easy owning my Greatness. It took me years to realize that I was really “Great” at my purpose of running this business and benefiting myself and others.  It was almost like I didn’t feel like I deserved to be Great.  After all, isn’t being Great snooty? What if others realized I was Great? Would they still like me or come after me? Worse yet, what if it’s not true and then I’m a fraud?!?

Such nonsense running through my head for too long. It blocked my ability to be of service and be happy. Until one day, I said “to heck with it, I’m Great and I know it”.  I then sat back and watched my world change for the better.

Is it easy?  It’s easier, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there are many days when owning my Greatness is a challenge.

Simple, but not always easy, I know.  However, I know you are up for the challenge.

So stop and think:

– What is your purpose in order to be happy and serve others?

– Are you owning your Greatness? If not, take it one step at a time.

– How will you take that Greatness and develop your brand around it?

The Mentality of A Successful Brand: New Immigrant, Entrepreneur

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IMG_0171I 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.IMG_0146

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?

How Relevant Are You?

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Growing up, I always wanted to be of service and help humanity where I could.   Part of this need was wrongly based on the notion that, as an immigrant, maybe I’d be more lovable if I was helpful.

Once I overcame the “immigrant” stumbling block, I realized I still wanted to be of service.  It just felt good and “right”. After all, why else was I here?

Maybe that sounds sappy or maybe you feel the same way.  Regardless, I’ve discovered that part of the human condition is the desire to be relevant- for good (to be of service) or otherwise.  

Merriam-Webster.com defines “relevant” as, “having significant and demonstrable (evident) bearing on the matter at hand”.  Hollywood is full of people competing to be, or to stay, relevant in our eyes as their admiring public.   However, I’m not sure all the Hollywood folks are trying to stay relevant to any particular matter, except fame and fortune.  I could be wrong. There are always exceptions.

Relevant people are those with strong personal brands based on service and a cause greater than themselves.  They don’t need an admiring public or client base- just a cause.

Applying the definition of “relevant”, if you choose to be of service in order to be significant and have an evident bearing on a cause greater than yourself, you cannot ever fail.  People will see your relevance, purpose and greater cause miles away.  You will always be relevant.  I promise.

The results are: you will attract others (prospects, partners, friends, business) to you with ease and grace.  You just have to be the candle that shines and we’ll follow your light to you.

So what does this mean for you? Stop and consider:

  • What’s your purpose/cause greater than yourself?  Recall the last time you truly took a stand for a cause greater than yourself.  Did you notice how much your brand shined and how relevant you were to your audience?
  • How can you transfer this notion to your profession and/or work so that you can become and stay a relevant brand?

Brand Branson: What We Can Learn From Richard’s Brand

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I was once on the board of Dress for Success. I had the pleasure of having coffee one day in San Diego with Nancy Lublin, the founder of Dress for Success. Nancy has since gone on to bigger and better things (like it was even possible, but yes!).  Just the other day on Facebook Nancy posted pictures for us that she was on Necker Island with her idol, Richard Branson. Branson owns and lives on Necker Island with his family.  Nancy’s post got me thinking, once again, about “Brand Branson” as I like to call it. How many people besides me and Nancy love Brand Branson?!

I’m a huge fan of Richard Branson.  Something about his brand and way of “being” appeals to me. I can’t put my finger on it and we haven’t met…yet.  But isn’t that the point? Without knowing Branson personally, I have a positive and memorable response to him and his brand- not necessarily the Virgin brand, but his personal brand.

His brand appears kind, gentle and about others succeeding- it’s inclusive. Take for instance his latest blog about treating people who don’t get jobs as well as those who do.  Here Branson notes, “Companies should treat all people well – staff, customers, those applying for jobs, those who have only just heard about the company. You never know when your paths will cross in the future. Plus, if everybody treated everybody else how they would wish to be treated, the world would be a better place.”

And it all centers around happiness.  Most of the things out there about Branson show his smiling face and what appears to be, happy nature.  His causes include entrepreneurship, sustainability and humor! Who wouldn’t love that brand?!

Yes, I know all the skeptics out there are saying, “who wouldn’t be happy if they had Branson’s money?” However, I don’t buy it.  Money can only bring so much happiness as a brand.  In my world, what has to come first is your brand as an emotionally attractive (happy) person. The money then follows naturally. It has to- that’s the law of the universe at work.

So what can you learn from Brand Branson? Consider:

– Are you happy? If not, why? If so, how are you showing up as happy everyday?

– What are you doing to strengthen your community in terms of service?  Although money always helps, you don’t need Branson’s billions to make a difference AND have a great brand that attracts others to you.

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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.