All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘branding’

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

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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

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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!

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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.

How Productive Will You Be in 2012?

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Right around this time of year, some of us get serious about how we want to “be” in the new year.  Many of us may set new years resolutions, but only some of us are genuine about it.   Often times, people set resolutions involving productivity and production.  I have no problems with resolutions- if you are genuine and really mean it.   No one else is impacted more than yourself if you don’t keep your resolution. You are actually robbing yourself, and being disingenuous with yourself,  if you make a resolution and don’t keep it.

So my wish (and subtle hint) for all of you is to resolve to be productive, by being efficient and effective in everything you do.  Don’t do it for me or for someone else- do it because being productive based on efficiency and effectiveness is a fabulous personal brand maker.

I resolved in late third quarter 2011 to work more efficiently and effectively while working LESS.  Guess what folks- it really does work!  Most of us are under the misconception that we have to work really hard and long hours to be productive and profitable and effective.  Not true in my book.

In my experience, clients with a great personal brand – those with a  great business AND personal life- are organized so they can work less, but more efficiently and effectively. The end result is that they are super productive people. These same people are more positive- they don’t resent having to “work” all the time and yet have nothing to show for it.  They take their extra time left over after working efficiently and productively to go spend quality time in their personal lives- which makes them all around peaceful, joyful, and excited to—-you guessed it— get back to work because work is a positive experience where results are had!!

Wouldn’t you want to be around (and give your business to)  a highly productive, effective, efficient person who is joyful?!  Of course, you would. Hence why these folks have a great personal brand and huge business successes.

So if you want a strong personal brand based on being productive, please take a moment to decide:

-What does being productive look like for you?

-How would you have to change your way of being right now so that you may be more productive?

-What poor work, and personal,  habits would you have to give up in order to be more productive?

-Can you do this alone or should you ask for help?

-Are your answers above realistic? If you are not sure, share your answers with a friend who knows you very well.

Let us know if we can support you in your productivity way of being in 2012!  We at Puris Image  are here as a stand for your personal brand success.

Are You “Cheap”?

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Do you avoid paying your fair portion of the bill when you go out to lunch with a big group of business associates?  Do you have all sorts of excuses to avoid paying your business/life coach or vendor on time?  Why should you buy your assistant the expensive holiday gift- after all, you share your assistant’s services with a partner in your firm, so the partner should buy the nicer gift since he/she makes more money than you as an associate?  Do you not go to feed the homeless with the rest of the office because there is no money to be made or prospects to be found at the homeless shelter?

So we all know of the stereo-types regarding cheapness.  Obviously we can’t assume someone is cheap and attribute a negative personal brand to him/her, just because of a stereotype.   It is unfair and not often true.

However, we have all seen the above-mentioned questions in the first paragraph play out.  And- make no mistake about it, we have ALL taken note of your cheapness in these situations.  We just don’t say anything to you.   Maybe we don’t consciously realize we think you are “cheap”.  However,  we’ve stored away the causal connection between: 1) you, as a (insert your career title here) and, 2)  you as a cheap person.  The further conclusion we likely draw is that you are petty, greedy, a hoarder and all about yourself.   Guess what folks- you now have a really negative personal brand that will require some serious work to rehabilitate!!

If you come across as cheap it means  we do not want to do business with you.  After all, you may rip us off or deny us our fair share of services, kudos, or kindness. No one in business wants to refer business to someone who is cheap. Not only do we not do business with you, but we likely don’t even want to be friends with you socially.  You’ll likely be the one to bring the $2 bottle of wine to the holiday gift exchange.

So stop and think- are you cheap?  Have you done things that could be seen as cheap or stingy?  Or do you freely give of yourself and your time because you care about people and want to help?  You have complete control over this personal brand perception maker/breaker.

EMAIL US AND SHARE A “CHEAP COLLEAGUE” STORY THAT HAS LEFT YOU WITH A NEGATIVE PERSONAL BRAND  PERCEPTION OF THAT PERSON.

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First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.