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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘branding’
Women entreprenuers are sprouting up everywhere today and that’s a great thing! With the growth of multi-level marketing (MLM) companies such as NuSkin, Melaleuca, Silpada, SendOutCards, etc, it is getting easier for women (and men) to run a business out of their homes, on the side of anything else they are doing or in any other way they wish.
The problem for me happens when I see people having their hands in two or more of these businesses- and actively selling them all at the same time to the same people. Two things could start to happen if you are one of these people:
* Your personal brand message can get garbled: Are you selling skin-care, jewelry, clothing or hand-bags? If you are selling them all, do they somehow tie into your personal brand and represent who you are, your unique selling proposition and business goals? Do you have some passion around the combination of MLM lines you represent or did someone just do a really good job recruiting you and convincing you that their MLM was the best?
I need you to step back before you sign up for a lot of good money-making MLM businesses and evaluate if YOU:
a) believe in the product so you can sell it with passion and purpose,
b) can find a tie-in with the product and who you are/your personal brand,
c) have enough connections to have the reach to the MLM’s target market. In other words, do your circle of friends represent the accurate target market for the MLM you want to start selling?
* Your actual verbal message can get garbled: I recently saw someone who was has a business organizing things/people speak at an event. However, I really did not hear her speak to organization. Rather, what I heard (and maybe misunderstood, but that’s the problem) was her talk about her lotion/body care line she represents and her bag line she represents. Both body care and bags appeared to be MLM and neither really carried her message of why she has an organization business and what she could do for me to organize my life, closet, office, bills, etc.
Even if you don’t sell MLM, but are in professional services (doctors, lawyers, etc), you need to stop and consider the same two questions above. I see plenty of doctors and lawyers who are selling products and services that are not connected to their actual service and brand. I appreciate the economy has prompted even professionals to have to get creative with their multiple income channels, but at what cost?
For example, I know a lawyer who sells candles for “fun”. Are you planning on creating a romantic atmosphere in court for your clients? If you must sell candles, disconnect the concept from your legal practice and sell the candles on the weekend to moms in your neighborhood.
I also know of many dentists who sell/administer Botox out of their office. To them I ask: “Aren’t you diluting your specialty as a dentist by telling me I can come in and get Botox from you, too?”
I’ve also seen plenty of dermatologists really go off-base by offering tons of make-up lines and creams and gels, etc. Too much product sales in my opinion. I can go to Sephora and get the same stuff. And no, just because you are a dermatologist doesn’t mean the products are more credible to me -because all the products are overwhelming and so are you.
So if you are selling, or considering selling, one or more MLM product lines or adding a product or service to your professional degree’d offerings, please consider the two potential problems above. While having multiple income streams is smart, which ones really serve you well and complement your current profession and personal brand best?
In personal brand management, a big key to success is your ability to adapt to circumstances and change. If you aren’t flexible and dynamic, then there’s no room for you to grow, develop an effective and genuine personal brand and succeed.
Many industries are perceived as static and slow to change and grow. One in particular is the legal industry and lawyers. I work with plenty of fabulous lawyers and law firms up for the challenge of developing a personal brand that is dynamic and flexible. However, the legal industry as a whole is not viewed as such. For those of you who remember, think about the show, “Paper Chase”. Not sure that perception has changed over the decades since that show aired.
I was just at the American Bar Association (ABA) Law Practice Management (LPM) conference in Napa, California. We were working on developing a program for lawyers, when this topic came up again. As we work hard on bringing new concepts and trends to lawyers and working on helping younger lawyers see the need to be outgoing, dynamic and brand-oriented, we always keep in mind a few thing. Lawyers can be slower to change, more risk-averse and more security-oriented.
If you think about it, these generalized traits make sense. The law is about precedent and following what came before to get to a new place in the future. Legal educational institutions and firms have been around for centuries and take pride in having this longevity. I remember my international law professor had been teaching at my law school for something like 30 years by the time I took his class- and the running joke was that there hadn’t been many changes to the curriculum since he started at the law school.
However, with the longevity and prestige there is always the danger of stagnation. This stagnation comes from following precedent, becoming comfortable with “what has always work in the past” and a general fear of trying new things, growing or following new trends. Fear of the unknown is common and something I appreciate.
The way to grow and succeed, though, is via a shift in perspective. Appreciate your tried and true ways, but always keep your eyes and ears open for a new method and process. Your personal brand will thank you for it and so will your family and clientele.
When we work with clients on developing their natural talents as part of their personal brand, we see trends. Personal branding is about the emotional quotient you trigger to get clients/prospects in action to get to know you and work with you. The best emotion to trigger is joy. We ask clients what daily activities bring about that sense of joy for themselves. We ask for two reasons: 1) so that they can do the activity over and over again for their own benefit AND 2) by doing this activity and having joy/happiness, you develop a strong personal brand and attract people who want to be around you, be like you and do business with you.
One common trend in responding to this question is that most clients really find being with their pets (ie, walking their dog, playing with their pets) brings them joy and peace. You should see the look on their faces as they describe the activities they love to do with their pets- their faces light up and they relax and have a sense of ease and grace about them. Clients don’t often make the connection regarding what the joy they have with their pets has to do with their business and personal brand.
I also have a dog. The sense of innocence and love and joy my dog has when I come home is indescribable. Not only does she make my day, she resonates from a very genuine, pure and innocent state of being herself- no agenda, no plan of action, no thought for what’s to come. She is just being present to being with me and happy to see me.
So, what if you related to your clients and prospects from the same place you relate to your pets? Now, please don’t take me too literally. I obviously don’t mean to treat people like animals. But I do mean to view all clients and prospects as if they:
- have no agenda when they see you;
-are truly happy to see you, even if their actions don’t resonate this;
-have true intentions to be with you and give their best to you.
In return, relate to your clients like you do your pets, by:
- being completely present to them;
-not reading too much “meaning” into their words and actions;
-accepting them as they are- the good, the bad and the ugly. Just as you do with your pet.
I think the hardest part of our work with clients is on the topic of unique selling proposition. Clients have a very difficult time believing they are unique. Sadly, not many people ever really believe they are truly unique and can stand out and be memorable in the sea of sameness of their profession. Once we convince them they are unique the problem becomes how we communicate that uniqueness to our target market and how we sell that differentiation.
Most people tend to want to differentiate based on price. Price differentiation rarely works. People tend to buy a product or service based on price only when there is nothing else to help them make their buying decision- ie, there is no differentiating factor that grabs them emotionally. At that point, they settle for the cheapest. Is that what you want for your personal and business brand- to be settled on because you are the cheapest, but not necessarily the best? I hope not.
Here’s a good example of this price differentiation at work. I know of a regional CPA firm. One of their employees was telling me one day how the CPA firm keeps losing bids for services when they go into meeting to present their proposal. He said they often lower their prices to come in cheaper and get the business and guess what- they rarely do. This person was extremely frustrated and upset.
I explained to him that the prospects shopping for CPA firms were not looking at cheaper to be better. However the CPA firm was coming across in the proposal meetings was not an optimal personal brand. I told him that the CPA firm needed to find their unique-ness when they go into these proposal meetings and stop making it about price. By coming in so cheap, odds are the prospects are thinking the CPA firm is either: a) desperate or b) not very good at what they claim to do. None of which are good personal brand builders that lead to long lasting relationships with a strong referral base.
So ask yourself- do you really differentiate on your unique-ness or are you just following the crowd by saying something like, “we are prompt” or “we are reliable” or “we are knowledgeable”. All I have to say about the latter three statements is that every business better be prompt, reliable and knowledgeable….!
In personal branding, your visual brand (attire, clothing, etc) is a part of your personal brand. Therefore, we do spend time making sure your attire and clothing options reflect the personal brand and business brand you want to project. We do this so you stand out, are memorable and feel good and look like you are “owning” your profession and service/product. In a world full of sameness, your visual brand and attire are a very easy and effective way of being unique and showing us what value you can bring to us- without ever saying a word.
Last week I had the privilege of being invited to Neiman Marcus for a Spring Trend preview given by their style adviser, Alex. Twelve of us were treated to a personal fashion show of the Spring trends in a way only Neiman Marcus does- Mimosas, gourmet breakfast and class.
The Spring trends include:
- Various shades of the color pink- from hot pink to pale pink
- Colorful clutches
- Various shades of yellow (my favorite!)
- Dramatic earrings
- Colorful pants, including pajama pants (yikes!)
- Mixing prints
- Scuba influences (minus the water)
- Tribal influences
- Strong eyebrows
Now, here’s the deal. The list above is not the “Truth”. I don’t think any of us should be wearing something just because it is “in” or trendy. I see so many people clamoring to wear the latest trends or style to fit in. But what are you fitting into exactly? Are you losing yourself and who you are to fashion and trends or are you incorporating trends into who you are to accent you and make you memorable and unique? Believe it or not, it is possible to wear trends AND stay true to who you are.
We should be wearing clothes because: 1) they make us look good and therefore, feel good 2) they reflect who we are as a person and a business brand and 3) they are comfortable.
The most important from my experience with clients is comfort. As part of our personal branding process, we dress clients. The first question I always ask is “does this outfit/attire make you feel comfortable?” If the answer is anything less than, “yes!”, we go back to the drawing board. If you feel uncomfortable in your clothing, then you come across that way to others- stiff, uptight, fidgety and unsure of who you are. In other words, it does nothing for your personal brand.
So go ahead and wear neon and scuba-influences attire. Wear hot pink and tribal influenced clothing. Go crazy with hot prints! However, only do so if these trends lend to your personal brand, enhancing who you are and how unique you are while making you look good and being comfortable.
What trends do you love? Email us and let us know.