Archive for December, 2011

Personal Brand Ho Ho Holiday Questions

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

13922_72_335The upcoming days might include holiday parties and getting stuck in the elevator with a group of strangers. Of course, strangers are just suspects – people with whom you may do business or who might refer you to the opportunity you’re seeking.

You can’t stand quietly next to the person who holds the key to your dreams. You must connect, someone once called that networking – which is an unlovely term for meeting people and getting to know them (and vice versa).

So, given the tenets of your personal brand, consider saying:

“I read this blog on personal branding, and here’s the kind of questions it posed the day before I took off for the holidays. They’re fun to answer. Want to play?”

  • If you had to spend all your vacations in the same place for the rest of your life, where would you go?
  • If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
  • If you could change one thing in your life, what would that be?
  • If you could have one superpower, what would you choose?
  • If you could change one thing to make life easier for your own gender, what would you change?
  • If you could do one job in the world for one day, what would you pick to do?

With that last question, you’ve created an opening for you to talk about what you would do. Make it realistic – so start with “Actually, I’m kinda glad you asked.” Then tell your best rendition of what you really, really want. Thank them for listening. Ask if they know anyone who does that – or who needs someone to do that.

So now’s the time to laugh, over-imbibe, overeat, under-exercise, finish off Santa’s leftover cookies and all the things you do when you are recovering from your holidays hangover.

Just keep mind, someone is always a sentence away or maybe a click away from doing what Santa might not have accomplished.

Getting you everything you want for yourself!

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How to Destroy Your Career

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

896550-lazy-office-workerThe seven deadly sins of career building:








There’s more of course, but that list is a really good start.

Here’s the thing. You never intended for those sins to show up in your personal brand, but those exact things may be popping up before our eyes.

How? We see you!

On laziness and carelessness

We see what you are doing and what you are not doing. Believe me, on behalf of your boss and clients: we know how many hours are in a day. We know if more could be accomplished. And if what’s been accomplished could be done better.

For example, my organization has a mantra: First draft, best draft.

That’s right. Intend on writing only one draft – and make it a really good one. Not something that shows you took a stab at it.  Not something that says: “I know I promised to get something out by today so I got to it, didn’t I?”

If you deliver the best draft possible, someone else can polish it – and we are golden! If instead, you throw up whatever you’ve got, we are in receipt of your carelessness and laziness. And all those excuses that get thrown in? Throw them out. All we learn is that we can’t rely on you.

You can’t be a great personal brand when your work betrays you.

On lying and stealing

That happens every day you take more than you give. Like when you are sent to a trade show and don’t get on the floor first thing. Or you get paid tuition and rather than do the work to earn an A, you don’t study but hope you’ll get a passing grade.

This everyday kind of lying and stealing is much less sensational than pulling a Bernie Madoff. But these small crimes of opportunity are much more likely to kill your reputation.

On arrogance and cynicism

When you say, “I don’t see the point in that.” Or, “that isn’t what I would do.” Well, that’s useful if you have the education, experience and insight to provide that business acumen.

But, if you have that kind of acumen, you probably aren’t saying anything like that.

On self-pity

When the weight of your decisions or the actions of others trips you up: don’t spend much time feeling sorry for yourself. Charge your batteries before they run out. Check the fuel gauge and traffic before either makes you late for an interview. Take responsibility for what you could have done better and journal the rest in a chapter titled: Life Isn’t Fair. Don’t read it aloud; we know it by heart.

On hope and change

Consider there’s a whole lot of people who never have a chance – even the smallest chance, to make something of themselves.

Consider what you must do to start a new path in the new year. Confess your sins – even if it’s just to yourself. Cleanse your soul. Heal yourself. Because there’s only two good times for you to be the best representative of your personal brand: 1) any day before today, and 2) today.

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Why Patience Kills

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Looking-at-watchYou succeed through speed in today’s business environment. Patience is no virtue. It’s a relationship killer, deal killer and career killer.

If patience is a leg of your personal brand triad, rethink your goals. Laying in wait for a response to your resume, proposal or request? Might as well try to send a telegram offering your congratulations to your competition.

Treasure goes to the assertive, relentless and even (fairly) sneaky people who go full throttle in pursuit of immediate gratification of their needs – or at least feedback.

We’ve documented this in marketing for the last three decades. Companies that wait to perfect a new product before going to market will lose out on the lucrative first mover advantage – because a competitor is going to lead the charge with a buggy iteration the market may embrace warts and all.

Job seekers lose out when they lag in the aggressive pursuit of the positions they desire to fill or create. No one thinks you’re polite because you fail to “show up” multiple times in our inboxes, while you’re waiting for us to remember to call you in or call you back.

Consider that to us – the people with whom you would like to do business – you are essentially a missing person, if you are not fighting for our attention. If you are waiting patiently for us to return your emails and phone calls, you are playing hide and seek with the wrong people.  This is true even when you know us and you know we like you. Even if you’re well recommended or even related.

Good things don’t come to those who wait.

Watch crime shows? Then you might know that the odds of finding a missing person drop by 50% at 48 hours. After that, the odds drop by 2% per hour until at 72 hours, the odds plummet to about zero.

This treacherous slope of failure mirrors the half-life of job openings, making a sale after a presentation or getting asked to do or be paid for whatever it is that’s on the table.

Sure, if the race is long enough, the turtle will win. But today’s business opportunities are sprints and high hurdles. The rabbit has a very good chance of enjoying the rewards that the turtle crept toward even as the crowd was long gone.

There is no virtue in missing opportunity. Not returning phone calls, emails, texts, or lagging your “liking” a comment on your thread by a very important person, kills the chances of your developing a relationship as each minute goes by.

Leap on each job announcement or tip about a business opportunities – and ride like a cowboy on a bull in a rodeo. Stay on it.

The odds are you are missing opportunity right now, simply because you are too patient.

Your parents were wrong. Patience is no virtue. You should be seen AND heard. And, you MUST talk to strangers.

Do it now!

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5 Tips On Your Brand’s Emotional Footprint

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

2698-1-emotion-icons-search-engineFeelings, sometimes nothing more than feelings, define a brand, including a personal brand. What about yours?

If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, than emotion must be an integral factor in successful branding. Coke would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, so the warm fuzzy feeling of connection – not fizzy water and syrup must be the bigger attraction there. Nike with its whoosh of freedom and lack of emphasis on its shock absorbers and Apple with its tout about imagination not processing speed, must understand the same thing.

Tip #1: Emotion is a huge component of product branding, and it’s equally important in personal branding. Emotion is the brain’s pathfinder to how we remember you and what you do, and how we distinguish you from others.

Tip #2: Your emotional footprint is equal to or more important than your skills and experience. The feelings you leave behind or create on contact make up your emotional footprint. That frames our desire to do business with you, read your resume all the way through, select you to be on a committee or board and continue to pay you for who you are, not just what you do.

Tip #3: Your success all comes down to how you make us feel.

Here’s how I do it all day long and enjoy results from it. In every way possible – on-ground, on phone and online, I activate my personal brand when I’m interacting with others. My personal brand has three components: smart, inventive and encouraging. My tone has three qualities: encouraging, exciting, and reassuring. Along with valuable content, I sprinkle in humor to get people “in-fun.” To be relatable, I share personal stories that show my foibles as well as my success so people feel empowered to be themselves with me. Most important making a positive impression: I make sure people feel received and respected as well as well-served. A tip for how I do that? I remember the specific details of their stories and ask them how things are going when I have the chance to catch up with them. Truth is: I geniunely care about the people I know in business,the same way I feel about the people I know in my personal life.

The result? I have a constant stream of new projects, new job openings, new clients, and all sorts of opportunities that find their way to me. At LEAST once a day someone reaches out to me with something to do (and that means someone wants to spend money).

For example: this week I got two calls to be on camera for companies that want to promote their businesses (they are companies I produce branding and marketing learning programs for), an author has a new book that needs to be edited and promoted, a major broadcast channel wants help finding a shoot location in Los Angeles for a reality program I am producing for a client, a prospective client wants to shoot a short series of web commercials, a friend of a client has an administrative opening for an Academy Awards project, and two former coaching clients want sessions, one on sales and the other on job hunting.

All these projects need a little bit of me, and a lot of other people to contract with – most of whom I’m asked to recommend, vet and sometimes directly hire. When I pull up my mental rolodex, run down my list of incoming emails, glance at my LinkedIn connections, post on Facebook and in general think about the literally thousands of people I know: each one has a feeling associated with him or her.

Tip #4: We recommend people who are not just qualified, but are people who make other people feel good. Feel good is a very specific thing. It means you make people feel safe, secure, empowered, vital, calm, enthusiastic, passionate, eager, excited, optimistic, content, appreciated, respected, proud, hopeful, and positive.

I don’t mean YOU feel those feelings. I mean you PRODUCE those feelings in others. Disneyland isn’t happy – it makes YOU feel happy. Coke isn’t filled with harmony (I know, I was a marketing executive there – it’s real company with real people. Maybe that’s why it’s called the real thing). Point is Coke makes YOU feel harmony, vitality, refreshed and positive about life.

Tip #5: If you are serious about branding yourself: you’ve got to identify a specific set of positive emotions that frame how you deliver your message and your services. That is your emotional footprint.

You must have an uplifting effect on the people who can recommend you and hire you. It’s reflected in your tone of voice, the way you ask us about how we’re doing, the way you describe a project you’re working on and it’s there every time we “hear” you on social media or see your links, photos or video.

Need a slogan to keep this in mind? In Girl Scouts we were told during a camping trip: Leave the area better than you found it. If you do that in conversations, presentations, meetings, on phone and online, we want to recruit you for our troop.

It’s your emotional footprint that make us say, “Wow – I know exactly who to call. They are perfect for this opportunity!”

So think about your effect on us emotionally as well as logically. How do we feel when we think about your personal brand?

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