Have you called yourself recently? On all of your phones? If not, it’s a fast find and fix to improving your brand impression.
How do I know this? Because I was grossly guilty of phone message neglect.
Fortunately, I have good friends who tell me the truth. Here’s a recent call I received.
“Hey Karen, Ms. Branding Diva your phone message stinks. It’s too long, you sound like you are in a tunnel under ground and teetering on having a bad day.”
She was right. This was a big disconnect from who I am and what my brand stands for. Here’s the really sad part, it’s been like that for a year, YIKES!
Five simple tips to a better telephone branded signal.
1) Be clear – Always state your full name.
2) Be brief – In our fast paced and busy world, short and to the point are best.
2) Have tone – Include some branded attitude, for me it’s energy and confidence.
3) Be current and relevant – Keep things fresh, consider changing your message with the seasons, the months or for no reason at all.
4) Provide a clear call to action – What do you want the caller to do? Leave their name and what they need? Or even better their American Express number?
5) Manage expectations – If you can’t check messages for along period of time, provide a timely route to you, request a text message or email from the caller.
Don’t ever, ever use the default, computer message. That clearly communicates nothing except you are unprofessional or so unorganized you can’t find the time to set up.
Bottom line, your phone message is often the first impression a new contact has with you. Make it a great one. And it does not hurt to make sure your visible phone and accessories are on board with your brand too. It’s all part of the personal branding package.
Still don’t have a smart phone? It’s 2012. Plus, being a tech dinosaur is no marketing edge.
And if bold styling is part of your image, consider a retro hand set (like pictured above) to plug into your iPad, iPhone or other smart phones and a cool, matching phone protector. I’ve usually sport the Branding Diva® red set —phone case, handset and fire engine hot lipstick. It’s an excellent conversation starter at coffee shops and airport lounges, after all that’s where new business often starts.
Got to go catch a call! Talk soon! Brand on!
In the past few years, personal branding has become a hot business topic. News anchors and journalists refer to individual brands when they cover business leadership superstars and business losers too. Executive recruiters consider a candidate’s brand when they are on a search for the best professional for a position and most entrepreneurs’ success depends on their strong, personal brand to attract employees, get funding and be an ambassador of their company.
Last month Daytime, a nationally broadcasted TV show that airs in over 35 markets, invited me to help out with a special segment called “Getting back to work”. The goal was to take two professionals who had lost their jobs and with an improved personal branding program, help them find the ideal career or opportunity.
Even though the segment focused on getting people back to work as employees, these lessons can apply to entrepreneurs as well.
Here’s the first segment that aired before Thanksgiving and a special shout out to Kendra York who owns Kendra & Company in Tampa for providing the hair, make up and style updates for our two makeover participants.
From here the plan was for me to give one-on-one coaching along with some branding tools provided by Staples that includes printing of business cards from their print and copy centers, Schtickers that provided a branded laptop skin and my design team that updated their brand identity.
These are some highlights from the coaching sessions.
Personal branding is no different than product or business branding which we all experience everyday. When a company has a strong brand, we as buyers have positive opinions about them, which in turn prompts us to select that brand over another choice. Product brands are competing to be the brand of choice.
The same concept applies for people and their personal brand.
A personal brand is what people think, feel and expect from you as an individual.
A personal brand is derived from the sum of what a person does, how they act, how they look and how they keep their promises.
In branding we call these brand opportunities, touch points.
Consistent brand touch points help a person manage their brand and peoples opinions of them.
A personal brand is one’s image, reputation and the impression they leave when they show up for a job interview, a business networking event or even after a phone call.
We all have brands even without thinking about them or consciously working on them, because people, our friends, colleagues, clients and employers are judging us and these opinions are stored in their heads, which become our brands.
The key to successful personal branding is making sure everything you do is lined up with your goals and that you consistently send out the accurate message that reflects the true you.
So when people find themselves in a down state, like being without a job or career they love, it’s time for action.
They need to follow these three brand-building steps to make sure they are projecting the right image that gets them closer to their goals.
1) Assessment and goal setting
2) Create an action plan
3) Work on it, with consistency and passion
I call the process, personal brain tattooing. Like a regular tattoo, a brand sticks to the minds of the market and it’s put there by choice.
Getting hired is often about risk and if your brand ensures the employer or client you are not a risk, but a good investment that can add value to their organization, that’s the ticket.
Step 1 – Assessment of what is.
What skills, persuasive assets and traits does the person have to build on and leverage?
When I’m working with an individual on their personal brand, I ask these questions.
- Can you tell me about yourself in a 60 second window? Please do.
- Why are you jobless?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- Describe your ideal job or next career?
- What are your 2-3 most important life goals?
- Have you experienced rejection and “No’s” in your job hunting?
- Did they give you reasons? What were they?
- Why do you think you were passed up?
- What tangible branding tools do you have? And what do you need to work on?
I also ask people to do a Google search on their name and see what comes up.
If it’s bad stuff that can tarnish your reputation, see what you can do to change it. Many times you can.
If it’s bad stuff that’s out of your control, like a criminal record, it’s good to know about it and sometimes you need to share this with a potential employer or client.
Next, I ask “What tangible branding tools do you have that reflect your desired personal brand?”
They can include:
- Your resume
- A strong cover letter of introduction
- A personal business card, laptop skin, brochures
- The appropriate wardrobe for interviews and meetings
- An appropriate web presence and social media footprint
I always recommend people buy their name URL, if it’s just a landing page with your contact information of social media links. If your name is not available, get something close, like with your middle initial in it.
As an example: I own www.Karenpost.com
Step 2- Next, one must develop a personal brand action plan to help get them from where they are “unemployed” to where they want to be, “in a great job or opportunity they love”.
A personal brand plan addresses:
- Brand essence
- Target audience
- Strategies (behavioral changes)
- Tactics (specific things to do)
I always start with the end in mind. What are your goals?
Strong personal brands are visible, memorable, distinct and relevant.
To “brand up” you, one needs to have:
Your personal essence defined.
A personal brand essence is the foundation around whom you are authentically.
Purpose - Why are you here? What do you do? How can you contribute to a company’s success?
Points of distinction- What is unique about you?
How you look
Your skill set
Who you have worked with
Personality – What are 3-4 adjectives that best describe you?
When building a personal brand, one’s personality attributes should be aligned with your desired job, career. Like in my case, being creative, having a sense of humor and being confident. Work well with my career choice being a consultant and speaker.
Promise – one’s promise is what they commit to delivering on.
For example – if you are in sales, you’ve got to be able to successfully sell. If you are in Healthcare administration, your attention to detail and problem solving must be mastered etc. One must be able to deliver on commitments and promises. Walk the talk.
After your brand essence is complete, then you must weave this platform into all of your touch points.
Who are your target audiences?
Who are the key company decision makers? Who are the other influential people in your network, who can make recommendations and introductions? Friends, former employers, people you do business with etc.
Touch points fall into three categories and need to be aligned with one’s goals.
1) One’s visual package
Research shows that visual elements are the #1 influencer in impressions people draw from others. This means your wardrobe, hairstyle and grooming all matter. Depending on the job and position you are seeking will determine the best look for a person.
Additionally, your tools like resume, business cards and thank you cards also impact the judgment you may earn.
2) One’s communication skills and style.
Next to the visual items, people are judged by their communication skills and style.
Communication style has three equally important areas.
How do you sound? Is your choice of words the best they can be and aligned to your goals? And the confidence and attitude you exude, is it consistent with your goals and does it lower the risk of the potential employer?
How do you write? From your resume, to a thank you note and your social media footprint, do these items communicate an impression that aligns with your goals?
What is your body language communicating? This includes your posture, handshake and eye contact. Are you poised and confident or unsure and down and out?
3) One’s substance and behavior.
The objective in personal branding is to be authentic, but based on your job goals; one must consciously increase the volume and clarity of their brand, offering potential contributions to a company’s success.
And finally, one must have substance and behave in a way that validates their position and image and supports all other touch points.
You must demonstrate evidence that you walk the talk, and are what your packaging communicates?
This means be really good at your craft and your job. The most skilled and competent people get the jobs first. And that’s where you want to be.
This may mean taking classes, accepting an unpaid internship or doing volunteer work with another job just to pay the bills.
And you must work the plan with passion and consistency everyday.
Think before you move. Stay in tune to the ideal brand you want people to have in their heads about you.
As a wrap up, here are five small things that have big instant impact on your personal brand.
1) Have a strategic online footprint that depicts you as you want your buyers to view you
This means have a LinkedIn account, a Twitter account and if you have business appropriate videos then a YouTube account too.
A landing page about you is a good idea, one that is hosted with your name.com. And if you’ve got something to say, a blog is extra icing on your brand cake.
2) Keep your promises
This means do what you say, say what you mean and walk your brand talk everyday.
3) Associate with people that are consistent with your brand
This means birds of a feather flock together. Don’t be hanging with bunch of crows if you are an elegant, sophisticated swan.
4) Look your brand
This means put the costume on when you are in public. Whatever your image is, support it with the right wardrobe, car and office.
5) Be consistent
This means frequency of a message, makes the message stick. Look at all your touch points, web, business communications, email, phone message, thank you notes, resume etc.
Need a little help with your personal brand? Check out some of my ebooks that can help you brand up your image and reputation.
Below is the second half of the Daytime segment that aired on 12/15/11
Every Saturday I salute someone or a group that deserves a little extra attention for his or her good deeds, achievements, creative solutions, witty comments or meaningful acts of customer love.
This week my hat goes off to the fall graduating class at American Intercontinental University and their families. American Intercontinental University is a global learning institution with campuses across the United States, in London England and an award-winning* Virtual Campus called AIU Online.
I was the commencement speaker today addressing over 200 grads, 1300 + university professors, staff and friends and family at the graduation celebration in Chicago.
Held at the Pier, surrounded by Lake Michigan, it was a picture perfect day to celebrate such a meaningful and huge milestone for the grads and their families.
Many of the students have held full time jobs and run businesses while getting their degrees. The class was diverse, it was made up of all ages and all ethnic groups with a common goal of bettering themselves with a solid education. They traveled from around the US and world to celebrate their newly earned degrees.
They all inspired me! (The grads, the professors, the staff, the alumni and the families)
To see and feel such love for life, learning and the dedication to catch dreams was a wonderful occasion.
As promised, here are the words I shared. A taped version of this commencement address will post on AIU’s Youtube channel soon. I will share the link once I get it. Until then, here is my notes. Pardon any typos, I’m running out the door
At 22 I started my first company. I made lots of money. I had fun. This went on for nearly 20 years. I was unstoppable.
At 39 I led a company that failed. I lost lots of money and my confidence. I was devastated.
At 42 I found my first gray hair in my head. I was freaked out.
At 43 I discovered hair color. And I was happy again.
Life is colorful, crazy, and challenging.
Life is wonderful and a rewarding journey.
We will all face windy & scary paths, with unexpected potholes.
We will experience great joy too!
Like today, as we celebrate your graduation, your passage onto a new and exciting road—full of dreams and opportunities.
So as you step into this new journey,
Who will you be?
And what will your brand stand for?
Will you be a courageous leader of a big company?
Will you express yourself and be a rule-breaking artist or a passionate writer?
Or will you be an entrepreneur and start your own business?
Whoever you want to be, you can be. IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE.
Look at Lady GaGa, Oprah Winfrey or Steve Jobs. They are all successful. They are all super brands.
And they all know success is more than an education and even talent.
Success requires a mindset that personal BRANDS matter.
Your personal brand is the sum of all you do.
It is your reputation, your identity and your image—that is captured in the minds of your market, your peers, your clients, your employers, people you know, people you don’t.
Your brand is: what the market thinks about you, feels about you and expects from you.
You are a brand – just like a product on a self that wants to get selected over another.
You are a brand- just like a company that buyers are attracted too.
The marketplace is competitive. You must stand out and stand for something.
I know first hand personal branding works. It can be the difference in getting something you want or being passed up.
I told you about a dip in my career 11 years ago. When I had to shut down a company, and lay people off.
My identity was shattered. I felt like I was in a dark hole with no way out.
In June of 2000, I committed to developing my personal brand. I started with a plan and clear goals.
I said to myself, Karen Post, “I will be an international branding authority. I will travel the world, speak, consult and write books. My nickname will be The Branding Diva. I will be high-energy and bold. My signature colors will be red and black and I will be a non-conventional thought-leader”.
My brand has helped me live my dream.
This past year, I even made history. I was the first woman ever to be invited to address the Saudi Arabian Airline in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. After my presentation I asked the meeting planner, “Why did you select me over all of the other branding speakers in the world?”
He replied, “It was your bold brand. We wanted someone who’d rattled our thinking and was high-energy. When we visited your website and saw the name The Branding Diva, we knew you were the one.”
While the formula sounds simple, building a brand takes work, discipline and understanding these key points:
The dress rehearsal is over.
We are all on stage everyday competing with others for the same job, the same promotion, that same piece of business, often we get only one chance to win.
We are judged.
From how we look, to how we speak, to how we shake hands, to how we perform. Everything we do matters, like what we put on our Facebook pages to who we associate with.
Failure and rejection are both Just temporary events.
The road to success is paved with failures and rejection. Successful people take the hit and then shake it off, and get back to stuff they can control.
To build a personal brand
1) You must believe in YOU, exude confidence, stand tall–be an authority in your chosen field. IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE
2) You must know your target market and package yourself consistently, so you are relevant and appropriate. IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE.
3) You must know your competition and position yourself so you stand out. IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE.
4) You must show up and ask for what you want. IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE.
and finally, when you earn your fruit, give back, mentor someone, contribute to a scholarship fund, keep dreams alive, so you can tell a new student, IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE.
There are no limits to your success. Your personal brand counts. Go enjoy your new journey.
IT’S YOUR TIME TO SHINE! Congratulations to all!
In closing, a special shout out to just some of my new friends: Sergeant Angela Mitchell, Erica J. Reese, Dr. Phylis Gooden, Jennifer and Grover Iverson, Syerita Lockes-Turner, Carol Garner, Omari Martin, Tricia Sigler, Todd Frugia and team, President Tober and a sincere thank you to Amy Crocker with Five Star Speakers Bureau. And what a small world, I even ran into a friend from Tampa, Renauld, Erica’s Uncle!
Social media continues to get lots of media coverage and buzz. Some, very well deserved and some is just a whole bunch of empty shoeboxes. Not good, because I love shoes!
Many of my blog readers and friends know that in 2009, after reading one tweet on a Saturday night at 11PM – and following up on it – this social connection turned into a million dollar consulting contract for me. I will forever love little blue birds!
I’ve also connected with and discovered some amazing professional resources through LinkedIn too. I love to find competent people that I can count on to help me do my work!
That’s all good, but as entrepreneurs and small or big businesses, can one count on meaningful results from social media? Like a concentrated 25-point social media blitz without investing any money, just time.
I’m curious too. So I’m going to conduct a test. We’ll call it the “25- point social media project”. This week my staff and I will leverage a two-part blog post article in 25 different ways through social media. In 2 week days we will report back the results. We will also track our time so you we can weigh out the investment to the return.
Here’s the test.
Join me, if you want to try this too and then we can compare results and lessons learned.
My blitz was geared around my new book, Brand Turnaround. I started by writing an article, which included excerpts from the book. The article was about brands gone bad and how they return to glory. The two-part series was called Branding and the Beast. So beyond the text, I had the book art and an image I bought from istock.com.
My 25-point social media blitz/how to promote your blog:
- I tweeted about it, included a link to the blog post and a unique headline.
- Posted a discussion about it on LinkedIn in my Brandturnaround group.
- Found a popular LinkedIn discussion, made a comment and included the article link.
- Posted a discussion in blogengage.
- Posted on .docstoc with links to blog.
- Turned it into a PowerPoint and posted it on Slideshare.
- I utilized pinging services. By pinging the blog post I let search engines know I just updated my blog.
- I posted it on Facebook with a different headline (because the blog autofeeds to my Facebook author page).
- I bookmarked the post on Reddit.
- I bookmarked the post on StumbleUpon and grew my stumble followers.
- Bookmarked the post on Delicious.
- Created a saved search for Twitter based on the blog’s keywords, replied to those tweeting the keywords with a comment and a link to my blog.
- I bookmarked the post to Digg.
- I found a high traffic site, TalentZoo, where they invite guest bloggers to submit stories.
- I submitted it to technorati.
- I wrote another discussion about it and posted a question on another LinkedIn group.
- I bookmarked the post to Blinklist.
- I posted it on Bizsugar, so readers could vote on it.
- I added my blog to Ping-o-Matic – it updates different search engines that your blog has updated.
- I produced a 3 minute video on the book Brand Turnaround, posted it on YouTube, Vimeo and then promoted it in Twitter, Linkedin and on my Author Facebook page.
- I posted my blog on blokube – a social voting site dedicated to professionals in blogging.
- I added 5 linkbacks within my blog to other blogs in my niche.
- I commented on 5 other blogs in my niche, with links back to my blog.
- Started a discussion on Google Groups.
- I posted an article on EzineArticles.com with a byline link to my blog.
and be sure to use a URL tracking system for every single URL you create, which tracks the effectiveness of your links.
We are off to the research laboratory and we’ll let you know our results.
For more on social media tips, view:
If you are going to tweet, why not make it really sweet.
Part 1 of a 3 part series.
About one month ago I received a call from a Nigeria speakers bureau, inquiring about me addressing a journalists meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. He also mentioned, he had worked with one of my fellow branding peers Martin Lindstrom. Martin is a global branding expert too and author of Buyology and Brandsence, both excellent books. So I reached out to Martin to inquire about his experience. Martin explained, you will be safe, it will be a memorable experience. He was right on both accounts.
Several weeks went by and the meeting was not booked. Then one week before the event TO, my rep from the speaker bureau, phoned me back up. They want you, please get your Visa and passport in order and they want you to address branding in government.
So the hoop jumping starts. I was actually still in NY city at the time and my lame AT&T phone had no service, so most of my communication was via email. Even though Martin said I’d be safe, traveling to a country with a questionable reputation and that I’d never been to by myself was not an option. Sure, I wanted the opportunity to visit Nigeria, but I also wanted to contain my risk and American Express travel does not offer a travel escort service, but they do offer a companion ticket with the purchase of a business class ticket. So now my goal was who could I get to travel with me and provide some value beyond being my body guard. I called Litewavemedia. They are a local company that produced my speaker video. I contacted Christian, the owner and explained the situation. Christian was booked on a big commercial shoot, but said one of his colleagues would be happy to do it. His name was Andrew, a UT film grad and well rounded, light, sound and video guy. Perfect! The trip planning could begin. Having Andrew with me was one of the smarter investments I’ve made, ever! He not only is a great video dude (taped me speaking and other event highlights), but took lots of still shots and was by my side every minute. His dedication to his craft and my safety was priceless. Thank you Andrew!! In the picture below is Andrew to the right and Paul our guide to the left. Paul works in Imo State government office in investment development. The hospitality he showed us and his friendship were awesome.
Here are a portion of my top lessons from my African adventure. See next couple blogs for more.
1) When you get an opportunity to do business in a country that is new to you, get personal references and get paid upfront.
2) Knowing the time and travel preparation needed for an event of this magnitude, I will not commit to anything with less than 2 weeks advance notice, full payment and contracts signed. Even though I pulled this off, it was a lot crazier than it should have been, unless they are paying me $100,000, which they did not, never again am I doing an event like this with that kind of short notice. Immunization shots only take two weeks to get in your system.
3) Even though I am a seasoned traveler, I would not travel to Lagos by myself. PERIOD.
4) Tightly enforce contracts and terms and stick with them. I got lax on this and paid consequences that I should have prevented. Specifically — Only when all 100% of funds and contracts are received, will program prep start. I spent too much time chasing down money. There is a clause in my contract that states “Client must get all promo materials approved before printing” or the contract is void. The client published items not consistent with my brand, a very old photo of me and inaccurate bio info. Include in contract all extra requests like press conferences, timing and details. PLUS, specify that your traveling companion must be in the same building as you are and internet fees are covered by client.
5) Always carry an extra few copies of your bio for press conferences and at the event. My agent had provided this bio, intro to the organizing group, but 4 minutes before I was to go on stage the MC had nothing and was asking me for my intro through a screaming crowd of 500 people.
6)Don’t count on the same kind of technology when traveling to emerging countries. My phone did not work and my internet was a daily mess.
This shot is of Neta Nwosu who was the chairman of the event for the Brand Journalists of Nigeria.
She also is an editor with the top newspaper (DailySun) in Lagos.
See next blog posts for remainder of trip.
For more global branding adventures, view:
Making history in Saudi and 5 lessons from the experience.
Guilty as charged. I was listening to Seth Godin, one of my favorite creative-brainys (that is a made up word), on 57 ways to get the world to spread your stuff and suddenly I needed to go to the little girls’ room. OMG, there were at least 40 minutes left in his Webinar on MarketingProfs, and even though I have a Pro MarketingProf membership (which is so worth it) and could have replayed it later, I was not willing to put this learning session on hold. I was engaged in every word he was saying.
How did that happen? How do you get people that glued to what you have to say?
Here’s my take on the Seth factor. He’s cool. He’s never boring. He challenges my thinking. He’s nice to listen to, compelling and calm all at the same time. He’s earned the very smart cat badge, a combination of status from credibility builders like his books, speeches and blogging and what others say the big media and fans around globe.
While he did share 57 ideas and some bonuses, here are my top four and what I going to do differently.
1) He does not have guest bloggers.
Why? Because it fuzzes it up. It is his brand promise to his readers.
As I’m evaluating the guest bloggers on Oddpodz,and I have been thinking about this for a while, he has an excellent point. Plus, guest posts are a lot of work. And unless they are highly read and driving traffic, which unfortunately my guest bloggers have not been, the ROI is just not there. So starting next week, the guest bloggers section will be laid to rest. The posts will be archived and remain on the site, but no new guest bloggers.
2) He blogs everyday.
That’s heavy. and scare the crap out of me to commit to that.
I said he challenged me. OK, then. I love to write. I do interesting stuff every single day. And even if I’m sick or staying in my cave, I think about really interesting things that I know others can benefit from. If I can’t pump out at least a paragraph a day, then shame on me.
3) He does not tweet.
That’s a side-line of the next takeaway for me. The actual big idea is: he consciously decides that he will not do everything, Tweeting is an activity like golf or collecting fish bones. He knows he does not have the bandwidth to do it well and right, so he’s not going there. I respect that.
I think all to often we put pressure on ourselves to do stuff that’s not really required or in our “do it freakin well zone”. For me this means not doing stuff that does not deliver happiness, money or peace in your soul. Personally, I like to tweet, it’s a good outlet for my inner soundbite, snarky side.
4) Try. Fail. Repeat.
That’s not a new one for me. But felt it was important for this list. Thank you Seth.
Love your thoughts on any of this.
Check out this Book review – “Tribes” by Seth Godin.
It’s the new year and a good time to evaluate your brand. Join me and my friend Lisa Malloy, a business coach and host of “The Entrepreneur Corner” as we discuss: What branding is, Do you need it? and How do you do it?
Specific issues will include:
1. What does Branding your business mean?
2. Why is it so important?
3. Should your brand look identical on all of your marketing materials, i.e. website, blog, newsletters?
4. Examples of company branding?
5. How does one know if they have branded their business correctly?
6. At what stage in your business should you consider branding your business?
7. Is it expense to create your own brand?
8. Should you pay to have someone create your brand or should you create it on your own?
The 30 minute show can be accessed via http://webtalkradio.net/shows/the-entrepreneur-corner/ on the afternoon of January 10th.
Be sure to view the other part of this blog, here.
Also, check out: Is publicity worth the time and expense for a small business?
I recently opened a big speech with 5 pieces of self-deprecating information.
Nope. Self-deprecation and being honest about your list of imperfections can actually help build trust and credibility. It does not matter if you speak on stage, like me or not. You can use this strategy in a new biz presentations, recruiting a business partners and or team member.
Here’s how it worked.
1) It showed my audience that I’m willing to break rules and I’m not perfect. Prior to my flaw dump, the sponsor read my bio which is filled with great milestones. As I entered the stage, I threw out the question, “What’s up with all these speaker intros, as preachers of truth and messengers of real world best practices, and then all you here is half their story?”
2) This common ground served as a trust builder. Many in the group had some of the same flaws as I did. We connected.
3) This off the wall content added instant humor, which is often the key to message transfer with an audience, especially at 7:30 AM.
4) I flipped the most dramatic flaw (the business in the toilet one) into PROOF that, bouncing back is reachable, no matter how low your situation is and because of that unfortunate experience, I am 330% smarter. The audience knew my program content and knowledge was not academic BS, but true, authentic battlefield insight.
I was amazed at how many people came up to me afterwards and thanked my for my honesty and courage.
So what so wrong with you? And how can you make it work for you too?
This week I was working in the Bahamas, The Atlantis, Cove Resort to be exact. I am so fortunate to do what I love, get compensated and be in place where the word paradise associated with a destination is an extreme understatement.
The experience was one of my best ever. The accommodations were incredible, service divine and even the beach cats were over the top gracious and welcoming. This beach cat parked next to me as I was chilling in the sand, sipping on a nice glass of wine, while writing this blog. Didn’t beg for anything, just hung out with me.
I addressed SITEglobal (Society of international travel executives). This conference was their foundation event where they mix fundraising, (which this even raised over $80,000 for research) education and power networking. SITE enables organizations to achieve optimum performance through inspirational experiences and productivity incentives.
My roll was the keynote speaker, as their event theme was “A Brand New Day”.
The incentive travel industry has been hit hard these past few years not only by the recession but, from the negative perceptions of high-profile industry bailouts and economic woes. And to make matters even rougher, the media reports about the increase in crime from pirates to drug cartels to terrorism have had a grueling impact on corporate incentive travel sector.
As I told them, no business is ever immune to these uncontrollable circumstances. However, when things get tough, the tough Brand-up! And that was my message.
The audience was a balance of independent destination companies, visitor and convention bureaus to multi-national travel and destination service brands. All faced challenges ranging from more demanding price-conscious buyers, learning and leveraging new technologies and social media, to how to best stand out in a competitive environment of many excellent choices.
Highlights from my program included:
- Branding is the art and science of being an offering of choice.
- This is accomplished by accumulating positive impression in the minds of your market.
- Anything (product, person, company, service, team, destination etc.) that competes is an opportunity to brand.
- As soon as you start doing business you have a brand.
- Marketing is the process. The brand is the end result.
- Strategic moves and smart tactical actions can make your brand more desirable.
- No risk. No brand.
- Requirements for successful brand.
-New mindset about selling, loyalty, social media and control
-Metaphors (in story, names and processes) are huge opportunities to differentiate
-Frequency in messaging (all touch points) is as important as the message
For a copy of the SITE BRAND-UP!! download here.
To listen to the song BRAND-UP! or share click below.
Have a question? Post it here or go to Oddpodz Linkedin group and post it there.
I want to personally thank Neal Shiller from International Speakers Bureau for bringing me this opportunity, Carol Girouard of Pinnacle meetings, events and incentives who was the education chair and all of the wonderful sponsors and members of SITE.
Over heard -
At the Sea bar in the Atlantis, Cove Resort
“Traveling with my family, I’ll have two shots of Patron”
At one of the evening dinners
“Bahamas hospitality is so genuine, every one smiles, they connect and look into your eyes and sincerely are grateful that you selected their beautiful island for your business or pleasure”
After my presentation
“My brand is a nightmare and your talk was a wake up call to changing that, thanks!”