Tag: Branding

How to Create Your Brand and Tell a Short, Impactful Story

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Where are you in the process of building your brand and telling your story?  Maybe by now you’ve heard the importance of doing so.  Having a strong brand makes it easy for people to quickly recognize anything associated with you.  This could be via your logo, the colors you wear, the quality of your work or how you make others feel when they interact with you.  Whether you’re just getting started or you’re the process of tweaking your brand, here are some things to consider.

Key components of a strong brand

You want a brand that’s effective.  Think about brands such as Coca-Cola, Dell and Canon which have remained strong over time.  Despite changes in their preferences, customers have looked to these brands to consistently deliver on certain expectations.  With this resilience, these brands have proven themselves to be strong.  Determine what you want to be known for and be consistent in your delivery.  This way, you can also ensure you’ll have a successful and strong personal brand. Read more here.  Read even more here.

Creating your brand

Take some time to define your brand.  Be mindful, however, that the landscape is always changing and similarly, you may need to tweak your brand over time.  So there’s no need to pressure yourself about being perfect from the onset.  Take time to evaluate whether or not your branding strategy is effective or if you should try something different.  Leverage your big picture perspective to determine if you’re on track to meeting your overall goals, identify changes you should make and implement them.  Build in periodic assessments as you map out your branding strategy.  Read more here.

Telling your story

Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you go about spreading the word and letting the world know about it?  This takes some strategy but it also goes back to a very human element.  When we get together with friends and family, what do we do?  We tell stories of events, funny occurrences, what happened last time, etc.  These stories provoke emotions and reactions such as laughter, nostalgia, and happiness; and through these reactions, we’re able to better connect with each other.  Telling the story related to your brand works similarly in that it helps others connect with your brand in a very fundamental way.  Read more here.

Keeping your story succinct

How do you ensure you get your entire story across when all the time you’re allotted is 45 seconds in an elevator?  Sometimes you’ll have a very short amount of time in order to communicate the who, what, why and how related to your brand.  So you should be ready with a succinct version of your story for such times.  Your pitch should cover the important aspects of your brand in addition to the next steps for people to find additional information.  Read more here.

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6 Skills Women Should Master For Success in Business and Life

What does success mean to you?  Does it mean reaching a certain status in society?  Is it associated with making a certain amount of money?  Is it having a certain title in your professional life?  Does it mean simply being happy in life?  I’ve come across a plethora of definitions and quotes that shed light on success and I’ve shared these on Twitter and Facebook.  Here are a few of my recent favorites:

 “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

” Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph.” – Zig Ziglar

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” – Jim Rohn

No matter how you personally define success, being active about making it happen is crucial.  Pablo Picasso put this nicely by saying:

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

So with this in mind, I’ve put together a list of actionable items that women can apply in order to take control about our own success.  We’re arguably not as aggressive as men are about creating our own path but with knowing what to do and practice, this can change.

Be comfortable in your own skin.  It is easier to go with the status quo and this approach generally makes others feel more comfortable.  But taking this route, you risk not being true to yourself.  It is important to take the time to reflect on who you are, what you’re about and take ownership of it.   The list of outside pressures and influences is long but once you are firm in your stance, everything else tends to fall in place.

Know your stuff.   You want your qualifications and track record to hold their own weight.  Always do your research and know the facts.  If you have a presentation, anticipate what questions others could ask so you’re ahead of the game.  Always strive to perform a level above where you are.  This gives others confidence in your ability to step up and take on additional roles and responsibilities.  As always, luck favors the prepared.

Executive presence.  Having a presence isn’t something that comes automatically once you move into the corner office.  In fact, it takes practice and it is never too early to begin.  Take pride in your poise, dress and presentation.  Pay attention to detail so that your intention with your first impression is always successful and helps close the deal.  Always make eye contact when you’re speaking with others and

Nail down your elevator pitch.  You never know who you will meet or when.  As an extension to that, you never know who is who when you first meet.  You may expect to meet “important” people at networking events, but you may run into a seemingly average, but influential, person at the bus stop as they run errands on their day off.  At all times, you want be able to clearly and concisely communicate who you are and what you do.  Thirty seconds from the 27th floor to the ground level may be all the time you have.

Ask for what you want.  Most people don’t do a good job of raising their hand when they need help.  We can make it on our own but the journey is more tough and much more lonely.  There is great joy in sharing your good days and successes with others.  It is especially rewarding when these are people who have a vested interest in and have contributed in your success.  People love to feel like they’re making an impact and helping others.  But the fact is, they aren’t given the opportunity to do so if you carry on in silence, don’t share what you’re doing and don’t initiate the conversation to get their input.

Support each other.  We have an automatic network with other women.  And we should leverage that to build and encourage each other.  Invite a group of women to go see a play or attend a charity events.  If one of the women has an art exhibit, take the lead in inviting others to support her by attending with you.  In general, the idea is to be proactive and create environments where you and everyone else can succeed.

What do you do to play an active role in your own success?  How do you and other women support each other?  What are some additional skills that you think women can benefit from?

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Survival Skills Everyone Should Have

No matter who you are or what you do, there comes a time when you’ll find something you are passionate about, have a move you’ll want to make, or get your eureka moment when the timing is right to make something happen.  Every person is unique; and everyone has their own gifts and talents to share with the world.  So until your time comes, what do you do?

There’s a beauty in preparing for a rainy day or your window of opportunity.  You never know exactly what will come your way or when, but you’re  certainly in a better position to tackle anything if you start preparing today versus tomorrow.

As the proficiency and aptitude in a particular area, skills can be leveraged to propel you forward and to combat obstacles.  Some may be innate, but others are acquired through practice and in conjunction with additional knowledge and experience.  They enhance your performance, expertise and also your adaptability and mobility.  No matter where your destination will be, here are some skills that will facilitate your journey.

Finance & Accounting Skills.  We live in a numbers-driven world.  So everyone needs to understand numbers and how they work.  For example, if you’re a business owner and you want to increase your bottom-line, you should understand that you have the options of boosting your top-line or decreasing your expenses. You don’t have to be the one-man accounting department; but you need to understand numbers well enough to know what is happening with your business and about its performance.  Numbers not only lead to fancy spreadsheets but they display relationships that are explained by words; therefore it is important to understand how numbers drive other relationships.  Even when you have qualitative decisions to make, there may be implications that translate to numbers so be able to cut through the surface and understand the analytics and ratios and know what they’re telling you.

Money Management Skills. This goes beyond business and is personal.  Cash flow is glamorous, but it can disappear by nightfall if it isn’t handled appropriately.  How are you allocating the income you’re generating?  Are you living above what you can truthfully afford?  You may be saving, but are you saving enough?  Being consistent with tracking actual expenses, creating realistic budgets based on this and holding yourself accountable for staying within your means are  not learned overnight and take a lot of discipline.  In addition to managing your current financial situation, knowing ways to make your money grow and increasing your net worth are other challenges.  Once you understand the concepts, however, the application process can be mirrored whether it is from your personal life to business or vice versa.

Marketing Skills. If you’re in business, you’ll quickly learn that a good marketing plan can make or break your business.  Another secret that many don’t realize is that even for business, much of the impact comes down to personal branding and relationships.  At the end of the day, people do business with those they know, like an trust.  As an extension of this, a personal brand is essential in business, but it doesn’t end with business.  Know yourself, your strengths and what you do best.  Be able to market yourself when you need to.  Be consistent in your message and commit to your brand.   Learn how to tell a story and a great compelling one at that.

Communication Skills.  Some days you my have to write, others you may have to speak, and others you may have to present.  Be ready for each of these.  If preparation entails doing impromptu speaking to get better, joining organizations where you can practice, writing for yourself, or learning how to use PowerPoint, get started as soon as you can.  Communication is very important anywhere from our everyday interactions to the boardroom.  There may even be a time when all you have is 30 seconds for your elevator pitch.   Be ready.

Social/Networking Skills.  None of us can survive in a bubble – not in this world.  Knowing people, being able to interact and relate, sharing stories, networking, and knowing how to treat people well are all very important.  If you are in a client-serving role, it is important to be attentive, responsive  and understanding to your clients.  Being able to show that you are working with them and not just telling them what to do is also a key way to differentiate yourself.  As basic as it may seem, the Golden Rule always applies.

Do you struggle with any of these skills?  Do you excel at any of these?  What other skills have been vital to you in life and business?


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