Tag Archives: Brand

3 Keys for Unveiling and Leveraging Your Brand

brand-elements2I attended a fascinating conference for corporate women last week. One of the presenters spoke about the importance of understanding your personal and business brand. I also had an insightful conversation with a visibility expert who reiterated the same thing.

As an employee or small business owner with a limited budget, you may be thinking “I don’t need a brand”, “I don’t have a brand” or even “I can’t afford a brand”.

But you’d be wrong. You have a brand whether or not you’ve actively constructed one. Your brand is how OTHERS perceive you and the value (or lack there of) that you provide.

It’s critical that you take an active role in creating the impression you WANT
to have in the public domain.

There are 3 factors that will help you articulate your brand. Once you know them, you can leverage them by CONSCIOUSLY articulating them in your marketing materials, resumes and cover letters, service offerings, emails you
send, interviews and sales meetings.

Here are 3 factors and the very simple ways to get at them that Deb Miller,
Chief Marketing Officer of Adreima shared.

The 3 factors are:
1) Your Essence Factor
2) Your Authority Factor
3) Your Superstar Factor

Your Essence Factor the core of you. You can access it by completing the sentence, “I know I’m in my element when I’m …” When you work in your essence, work is a joy instead of a drudge. You are doing what comes naturally and it therefore seems easy.  Life is good. You feel in harmony with the world, with your calling, with your purpose.

Your Authority Factor is based on your knowledge and skills. It’s what makes you credible in your profession. You can access it by completing the sentence, “People recognize my expertise in…”

Your Superstar Factor addresses, as you might imagine, your ‘secret sauce’, that quality, skill or ability that makes you a unique standout.  The way to
think about this one is to finish the sentence “People comment on my ability
to…”

Once you’ve identified these 3 factors for yourself, do some market research and ask others how they would answer the same questions. Compare the responses. Again, your brand is largely how others see you.

So decide if what you hear from others is actually how you want to be perceived. If not, you’ll have to get active in changing your behavior, image and/or service delivery so that it reflects more closely the you you want to be known as.

When you have landed on the right combination of Essence, Authority and Superstar Factors, fashion them into a sentence like one of the following:

  • I use my ____(skill) for ___ (outcome)
  • Using ____(trait), I ____( result)
  • Through my ___ (quality), I ____ (thing you do/produce) when I serve ____ (your client)

An example might be, “Using my creativity, I spark innovation in others”.

When you’re clear about who you are, what you do and the market sees and values you similarly, you’ll be well on your way to capitalizing on your skills and living in harmony with your gifts and your purpose.

Making the Best & Most Profitable Decisions for Your Business

Recently, I had a conversation that opened up a critical new distinction.

decision-makingA client was struggling with redefining her relationship with a new partner in her business who wasn’t working out as well as expected.

During our call, as she grappled with how to move forward, I noticed she repeatedly seemed to be taking the path of least resistance and making concessions I thought, deep in her heart, she knew were not in her best interest.

The decisions she reached seemed reasonable enough; her decision process sounded rational enough, yet I knew something was amiss.

I interrupted her thinking out loud process by throwing her a curve ball posing the question, “If your business had a personality, how would you describe it?” She proceeded, quite quickly I might add, to use terms like ‘curious, detailed, tech savvy, trendy, challenging, informed and knowledgeable’.

It was quite an amazing experience to hear her describe her company and ‘brand’ so clearly. It also gave me new insight into how she sees herself and business and gave HER a new decision-making tool.

I asked her how well her partner represented the feel of that brand. “Hmmm. Not very well”, was her response.

I then asked if that curious, tech savvy, trendy entity were hiring someone for the business, would he/she hire the person who is now the owner’s business partner. “Probably not”, she replied.

Our businesses have needs that , while intimately connected, are separate and distinct from our personal needs (and fears). When we look from that more impartial, perspective we can be more objective, less concerned about our insecurities. When our ego is out of the way, the truth is more apparent. If we don’t to that, we’re doing a disservice to the future of our business and casting a shadow over the possibility of our life.

So the next time you’re agonizing over a decision about your business, take a step back. Rather than making the decision from your point of view, envision the best and highest expression of your business and determine what IT needs for that highest expression rather that what would make you feel safe and comfortable.

Stepping into the ‘role’ of the business and making decisions based on what it needs in order to accomplish the goals you’ve set for it will give you a different perspective from which to view the landscape and the perspective to make critical decisions using the right criteria.

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Turn the “Scorching Hot Sweet Spot™” in Your Business or Career into Cold Hard Cash

One of the biggest complaints I hear today is that people aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Whether they are a corporate professional looking to move up the ranks in their career or a business owner looking to land more lucrative clients and contracts, they’re struggling to distinguish themselves in an authentic and profitable way.

Recently, I’ve honed in on what it takes to turn what I call “The Scorching Hot Sweet Spot™” in your career or business into cold, hard cash! Once you’ve mastered that process, you’ll attract better clients, gain more recognition in the office, feel way more confident, set yourself apart from the herd, stop worrying about the competition and earn more money.

It’s a simple model. Think back to your high school algebra or logic class to the phrase “Venn Diagram”. The Scorching Hot Sweet Spot is at the intersection of 3 concepts:

1) Your expertise and passions
2) Your customers needs
3) Your offer, well-timed

 

 

Your expertise and passions
It’s critical you know what you’re really good at and it’s likely that you don’t. If you’re like most people, you undervalue what you know. When something somes naturally to you, it’s easy to assume that everyone is good at it too. Nothing could be stronger from the truth.

Take a trip down memory lane and ask yourself what you loved to do as a child or teenager. Recall the kinds of things people have asked your advice on over the years. When you’re clear about your expertise and focus your business or career around the expression of that expertise, you’ll be effective and experience less struggle. Work will feel graceful and full of ease. If you aren’t aware of and don’t effectively market the value of your skills, you’ll sound like everyone else when competing for clients or jobs. You’ll seem like a commodity and be easily replaced by someone with a lower bid.

When you focus on what you’re passionate about, you’ll also experience a feeling of fulfillment and joy. Time will fly by because you’re doing what you love.

Your customers’ needs
People will pay good money to someone who is perceived as being someone who can help them solve their most urgent issues. You have to know what keeps them awake at night and how your ‘magic’ will let them rest more peacefully. If you aren’t aware of their problems, your marketing messages to them will sound like that Charlie Brown teacher “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah”. They don’t care how cool your process is. They only care about their pain and getting rid of it.

Your offer, well-timed
You must have a specific methodology you use to help solve those problems. That’s your “offer”. Having a trademark system in place gives you more credibility and positions you as an expert. Even if you’re an employee, you probably have a certain way you go about solving problems. When you can describe and name your process, it’s value goes up. It’s one of the steps I take my clients through in my VIP “Monetize Your Niche” and “Be Dream Job Ready” private consulting days.

The second component of this is the ‘well-timed’ part. You could have the most compelling solution but if it fixes a problem they’re not having now, you likely won’t get the sale. You must learn to recognize the buying signals that foretell a prospect is ready to take action.

When you clarify these three concepts and implement new activities in your business, you’ll be on the way to pushing more cash in the bank!

How to Distinguish Yourself in a Crowded Marketplace So You Win More Sales

If you want your business to grow, it’s critical that you set yourself apart from the competition. Many companies struggle with that idea but it’s not too difficult if you know the steps you must take.

If you fail at distinguishing yourself, you could end up having lots of conversations with prospects that end up going nowhere.  You’ll waste money on advertising that won’t get noticed and time on networking that doesn’t lead to presentations and therefore sales.

Let’s face it, unless you have a product or service that is truly unique, other entries in your industry will make the same client claims that you make.  And your prospects will either hire the person they like the best or the one who gives them the cheapest price.

So what’s a Biz Dev person to do?

Here are the 5 MUST DOs that will allow you to eradicate the competition and win more sales.

1. Define how you exceed market expectations
Everyone says they deliver exceptional customer service. That won’t distinguish you. Saying you focus on the customer is a big yawner as well.  If you’re a printer, on-time delivery is an expectation every client has.  If you’re able to design and print faster than anyone else, simplify the review/approval process, customize publications at a cost-effective price or deliver products to worldwide locations in a snap, you might have an edge.

2. Assess your past engagements
Make a list of your biggest success stories.  Notice what they had in common.  Were they all from particular or related industries? Did you sell or service them in a similar fashion? What made them so successful?

3. Identify your process
Determine what it is that you do with each of your clients.  Even if you think there isn’t a process you follow, I challenge you to discover it.  It’s there.  What’s the first thing you do?  Is it an assessment?  Do you ask them a series of questions followed by some recommendation(s)?  Do you have them do certain things?  You may have a number of processes you do under different circumstances.

4. Name It & Claim It
Once you’ve defined the steps you take, claim them and NAME them.  Acronyms are great but not necessary. For example, the steps I take clients through who are looking for more balance and joy in their life is RENEW.  Release, Elect, Nurture, Eject and Win.  While there are a lot of coaches who help people gain a stronger feeling of control over and balance in their lives, how many have a SYSTEM like the RENEW System?

5.  Tell your hero’s story
Share with your prospects and clients how you got where you are today.  Perhaps it’s the story of how you developed the system or how you grew up and led you to the life you have.  Your story is your own.  No one else can tell your story.  That makes your story a key ingredient in distinguishing yourself and your business from the rest of the world

I heard a marketing consultant/speaker share what it was like growing up the ‘baby’ in a family of 8 children.  His slogan was “Being heard above the noise”.  He tells his audience what it took for him to get heard above the noise of his children and helps business owners come up with their own stories so they can get heard above the noise.

You have everything you need to set yourself apart. You just need to look at who you are, how you got where you are, what you do that’s unique for your clients and the results you help them produce. This will distinguish you and help you win more sales.

Is Your Brand Increasing Your Sales or Killing Them?

mercedes-logoI talk with a lot of marketing strategists who extol the importance of branding for a company’s success but it’s like pulling teeth to drag most of them down from the conceptual clouds and get specific about exactly what they mean.

Every company has a brand whether you’ve proactively designed it or not.  Your brand isn’t just the way you present your company; it’s how you’re seen in the eyes of your prospects and clients.

coke_logoMost of us recognize the highly advertised brands like Coke, Mercedes Benz, Nike etc., but someone the connection between what those big companies with huge advertising budgets do doesn’t clearly tell  smaller business owners what they should do and why.

According to Rob Frankl, “branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition; it’s about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem.”Nike-Logo

Here’s what I discovered when I went on a quest to clear up my own vagueness about this topic.

There are 3 major components of a brand: content, style, and graphics.

Content derives from your values, beliefs and key messaging you deliver to the marketplace.  What do you say about your company or products and services?  Why are those things important to you?  Do your ideal clients actually care?  How do you know?

Style reflects the personality of your brand or firm.  Are you intelligent, fun, stodgy, casual, conservative or out in left field?  Again, is there a style to market match?  You need credibility with your marketplace and the way you ‘behave’ in your market will either attract or repel them and determine how much they trust you.

Graphics is all about the visual, physical representation of your company. It includes colors, font, logos and photography.  It is the first thing people tend to focus on and create but really should be the outflow of the first two components.

You must know who you are but if you create your brand just based on your internal interests, you could miss the mark by a mile.  You must also thoroughly have and understand your target audience before you attempt to ‘present’ yourself to them.

It your brand is appealing, it will make people want you.  Real branding raises your bottom line revenues, lowers customer acquisition cost, increases customer retention and profitability. So review the way you’re portraying your company, check with your clients and prospects to understand how they view you and if you’re confident you’re sending the message you intend, market the heck out of it (in all of the right places, of course)!