All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘branding’

Are You Slow To Change & What Does That Mean For Your Personal Brand?


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.

Treat Your Clients/Customers/Prospects Like You Treat Your Pet


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.

How Unique Are You? Differentiating Your Personal Brand NOT on Price!


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….!


Are You Trendy? Spring 2012 Fashion Trends & Your Personal Brand


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!)
  • Neon!
  • 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.

Come Out Of Hiding in 2012!


As business owners and employee, we try to do a little of everything as best we can.  It is hard enough to run a business or be a good employee and get the substantive work done. Then there is the other type of work that has to do with networking and showing up and representing.  This is where it gets harder and harder and harder, especially if you are fixated on the substantive work.

I often get feedback from clients and those in my networking/personal branding classes that they feel it is good enough to show up at a networking event.   Why do they have to be happy about being there or resolve to do things differently while at the event.  Or worse, there are those folks that have the following excuse about why they don’t show up in public and sell their personal brand- they often say that their work speaks for itself as a first impression and so no one needs to meet them or see them.

So my questions for you are:

Do you feel your work speaks for itself and sets a great first impression so you don’t have to show up in life?  If you do show up at events, do you believe it is good enough that you are there and so you don’t put forth much effort?

If you answered “yes” to either question (be honest with yourself!), then you are missing out on developing an effective personal brand and missing out on life!

Folks, it is not good enough for you to assume your work speaks for itself.  While you may produce superb work product and that is very important, you need to make sure we see there is a dynamic human being standing behind the work product.  At some point, everyone produces work that is on par with one another. How do you stand out from the other  “good work producers”?  It is only from actually knowing you and your quirks and personality (ie, your personal brand) that anyone will remember you…and your work product.

Guess what? The only way to get to know you and your quirks and your personality is to get out in public and do it with a passion and purpose. So it is not good enough to just go to networking events- I need you to want to go to networking events and want to meet people and genuinely be interested in meeting people and sharing yourself, both personally and professionally, with people.

So be high-impact and genuine:  don’t hide behind your work product, show up. Don’t just show up.  Show up and be genuine in your interest in being there and connecting with others. It’s a fabulous personal brand builder.  I promise.

Here’s your challenge for January 2012:  Attend a networking event/meeting, etc that you normally would not attend because you “don’t have time” or it makes you uncomfortable to go.  Go by yourself.  Go with the intention of standing out, being interesting and being interested in others at the event.  Email me and let me know how it went.

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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.