All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘branding’

Stories Stick. Got Your Personal Brand Story Straight?

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In life, we remember things, places and people better if we have a good story to which we can relate.   Stories help us put things, places and people in perspective.  Otherwise, everyone and everything tend to blur together.  That’s why we, at Puris Image,  like personal brands being expressed as stories.  Well expressed stories truly do stick.

In our personal branding work with clients, we teach clients how to take their uniqueness (USP)- yes, everyone is unique in their own special way- and express this uniqueness by way of the story of the client’s life.  We put no rules or parameters around how this story has to be crafted.  We like soundbites, full-length versions starting from when you were born, and everything in between.

Our rules come into play with respect to: 1) the details of your story and 2) how you deliver it to your relevant audience.

Details:  Your story has got to have enough details so that it can touch and reach a wide audience base.  We can’t control the background and baggage of our audience, so we need to be detailed about our own story so it can appeal to a larger population.

Delivery:  You’ve got to understand that you can’t just dump your entire story onto everyone you meet.  Your story won’t go over well if you do so.  The whole point is to be genuine as a personal brand.  Being genuine means you understand your story, feel it and deliver bits and pieces that are relevant to your audience.  This means you have to first listen to who your audience is and thus, to what portions of your story they will connect. Only then can you feed them your story.

So next time you are asked about yourself, remember that:

*your story is unique,

*your story matters,

*Your story must be have the two “D”s:  be detailed enough and delivered appropriately, and

*Stories Stick!

Email us your story if you are not sure how to develop it well!

Sensitivity Should Only Be About Your Teeth, Not Your Personal Brand!

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My husband is a dentist.  So I get to listen to many conversations about “sensitivity” regarding teeth.   The good news is that sensitivity of your teeth is often curable and does NOT impact your personal brand.

However, lately my company has been running into sensitivity that does impact people’s personal and business brands.   The kind of sensitivity that I’m speaking of is where people are offended and bitter about the type of things that make the rest of their business colleagues stop and scratch their heads and wonder, “what is up with him/her?” This type of response can only be the start of a poor personal brand perception.

I’ve unfortunately got many examples, but one sticks out in my mind sadly.  This example involved a colleague for whom I have much respect.  This colleague is big on lunch networking.  We had a lunch appointment set for me to meet him and a person he was going to introduce me to.  About two weeks before the scheduled lunch, two of my client meetings shifted to where there was a time conflict.  So at this point, I had to decide whether to meet with my clients or meet him for lunch.  I emailed and called him and apologized, explained the situation and explained that I needed to change the lunch date. I also emphasized that none of this meant he/lunch was not important, but clients had to come first.  Well, he took offense and said he felt second-best and refused to talk to me.  I was shocked and spent time trying to fix the situation.

At some point I gave up and accepted his response.  I respect his position and disagree with it.  However, and more importantly, I wonder if he’s going around town with this heightened sensitivity.  I also wonder how prospects and clients take to it.

Anytime you come across sensitive to the point where colleagues/prospects either: 1) walk on eggshells around you or 2) don’t want to do business with you, then you’ve set your personal brand perception, and thus your business/job prospects, up for failure.   If people have to deal with you ignoring them or snubbing them,then they will likely avoid you and your business.

So next time a business colleague upsets you, please stop and think about whether you are acting in proportion to their “guilty” action.   Stop and put yourself in their shoes. Maybe you wouldn’t respond the same, but is the situation worth possibly ruining your personal brand and jeopardizing your business brand/referral sources?  Also, please don’t give some fake response to them pretending like you are “ok” with everything and then sulk quietly or worse, gossip about them.

My suggestion is to be honest and up front with them, forgive, forget and move on to more positive personal brand building possibilities for you and your business.

 

Boundaries & Your Personal Brand

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It seems that more and more people are talking these days about how having boundaries within our lives is optimal and productive. I’m not talking about physical boundaries.  The boundaries I am talking about are those we enforce with people in our lives in order to respect our time, feelings, preferences and of course, our personal brand development.  The alternative is a downward spiral.

I find in my daily interaction with clients, friends and potential clients that people just can’t say, “no”.  I find it happens with certain types of people and professions more.

I get many junior attorneys and other junior professionals who fall prey to a lack of boundary.  Just the other day it happened again:  a junior attorney was late to our meeting because:

-”I had a client on the phone and I just couldn’t end the call so I could be on time to my meeting with you.”  OR

-”I disagreed with my senior partner’s theory but didn’t feel comfortable saying so and then someone else voiced their dissent, instead of me, and got all the praise.”

Being able to say, “no”, with ease and grace is a gift we bring to ourselves and to others. It helps people understand where they stand with us.  I liken it to training a puppy.  Puppies need rules and discipline.  Just the same- we need to know where we stand with people.  I call this having a high “confront”, where you are able to eloquently and easily state your preference and views while respecting the person/people on the other side.

If you have a low confront, and thus low/no boundaries, people walk all over you and the result is a disastrous personal brand.  Why would anyone think you could provide them quality service, if you can’t draw boundaries or dissent?  The assumption is that if you can’t stand up kindly TO me, how can you stand up kindly FOR me and be my advocate in business?

So please take some time to:

1. Figure out what your boundaries are  in general.

2. Figure out what your boundaries are in a particular situation.

3. Draw your boundaries.  Practice on the small stuff so you’ll be able to draw the boundaries on the bigger stuff with the ease and grace of an effective personal brand.

In the end, you’ll see the world respects you and your personal and business brand more.

Is Your Personal Brand By Default?

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Having an intention behind any action is crucial.  Without intention, everything we do has no power or purpose.  It’s like taking a road trip without any idea of where you want to go.  It’s essentially  living life and running a business without a plan.  So often clients seek us out for personal branding assistance because they have no idea:

a) what a personal brand is,

b) how to develop their own,

c) why they need to develop a personal brand,  and/or;

d) where to start to develop a personal brand.

The good news is these clients come to us with a notion of needing help in all or one of the above areas.  The bad news is many such client business owners have been running their businesses without any personal brand development. Many have been doing so for many years.  Even more large business clients have been doing so with a large employee base and huge clientele.

Without having a personal brand program in place, you are likely running your business on default brand mode.  This lack of brand intention likely means:

-you have no idea how you are currently being perceived by other, including your target market;

- you have no idea how you want to be perceived by others, including your target market;

- you have no idea who is your target market;

- you have no idea what is your unique selling proposition nor how to position this uniqueness into a message that you can communicate well and consistently.

Sadly, all of the above can translate into confused marketing that lacks a clear message, wasted dollars and time on marketing, confusion about how you, as the owner, fit into the mix and why.

So if you are running a business, or considering opening up a business, please remember your personal and business brand are very important.  While it seems really important to have a logo, a cool website and pens with your name on it, none of these items can come first.  You must first develop your personal brand as a solid foundation for your business brand (logo, website details, tagline) to be built upon.  Only then will your message and brand recognition be credible and outstanding for your customers and staff.

Got Multiple Products/Services? Don’t Confuse & Dilute Your Personal Brand.

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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?

 

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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.