It’s always been a dream of mine to attend Fashion Week in New York City. Thanks to a local charity auction, it became a reality a few weeks ago. In April, Wheels of Success, a nonprofit in Tampa that provides automobiles for people in need, held their annual fundraiser. Like many charity events, they had a live auction offering some very cool items. The package I bid on and won was two tickets to go to a show at the 2014 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City.
This week, I accompanied my dear friend, Pam Iorio, the former Mayor of Tampa, to the Lead & Succeed event in Tampa. If this event comes to your town, attend. For five bucks you will hear top notch business speakers and likely make some great contacts too. Pam was one of several keynote speakers and she inspired everyone, including me, to find a higher level of leadership in themselves. She shared stories about her journey in life and she talked about the three important behaviors that she sees in great leaders. 1) They don’t waste energy fretting about the competition. They focus on their own performance and improving. 2) They treat everyone with respect and make everyone feel important. 3) They don’t give self-doubt a chair at any party. While these points are pretty simple advice, if you think back to any moments of soft leadership you observed, or were a part of, they were not likely practiced.
A couple of weeks ago, I seduced many of you into opening my blog only to find out that I’ve not read Fifty Shades of Gray yet but did read Magic of Impromptu Speaking, by Andrill Sedniev, while taking some time off of work. I promised a review on the book, so here goes. The book caught my attention as its subtitle states: Create a speech that can be remembered for years in under 30 seconds. The fact is, I and gazillions of other book buyers gravitate to titles that promise fast and almost immediate results. A good formula to remember when you are writing product copy or selling a book. So was he telling the truth or committing a marketing sin and telling a big white lie? It’s a gray area. Maybe not fifty shades but at least three. The book is excellent, filled with wisdom that can be applied to formal speeches and varied other opportunities of attention, like when doing a media interview, interviewing for a job or taking a stance in a board meeting. All good stuff for building a brand.
Now that I’ve got your attention, I love metaphors and feeling naked is a common one for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The naked pitch and how to appear fully garbed. Since the early days of my professional career I’ve been naked and unequipped many times with industry knowledge, experience and even skill sets, but that did not stop me from scoring new business and ultimately contributing to a client's success. In fact, the first piece of business I landed over 30 years ago that launched my career in marketing and branding was when I was totally naked of qualifications, credentials or formal education.
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!
This past week one of my favorite guys and myself celebrated a birthday. I’m happy to report that I’m the younger one. In fact, Abe Lincoln is 203. For those of you who know me well know I’m not a holiday girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love to celebrate, I just believe that everyday you are above ground is a celebration and special, instead of making a big deal about the traditional Hallmark days. As I added another year to my timeline this week, I reflected on some of the most meaningful threads that make up my fabric. I put together 52, and yes there is a reason for that number, I hope you enjoy.
I can't believe it's here. My new book will be on bookshelves and ship from online bookstores like Amazon and Barns and Noble this Friday, December 16th. Thank you all for the hundreds of congrats notes and words of support. I know many of you downloaded the sample chapter per my LinkedIn and Facebook author page notice. If you had trouble getting your chapter, it is because you were already in my opt-in list. So I've set up a direct download here without any further sign up needed, just click the book. Sorry for that inconvenience.
Jennifer Prosek, author of Army of Entrepreneurs, is the founder and CEO of CJP Communications where she leads many of the firm’s key accounts. Her offices are located in New York, Connecticut and London and with over 70 working professionals, the firm ranks among the top 35 independent public relations firms in the US. You could definitely say that she knows how to run a business or, should I say, how to gather an army of entrepreneurs. Want to know the secret?
Like I mentioned the other day, I have aged a bit since jumping into the world of being an entrepreneur. In fact, almost thirty years have whipped by me. Many things remain the same, but some things have changed. My entrepreneurial traits that remain:
- I’m still very fearless in business.
- I still fear a few things like: being struck by lightning, being hit by a flying baseball, hockey puck or golf ball and I still hope I never meet a snake.
- I still have a strong sense of humor, love comedy and gravitate toward people who make me laugh.
- I still believe personal responsibility is a big deal. And when people don’t take responsibility for their actions and blame others for their fate, that’s not a laughing matter, it’s a character flaw.
- I still love my work, in fact so much that most of the time it doesn’t feel like work, but extremely satisfying play.
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 Martin Lindstrom, one of my good friends and fellow marketing visionaries. Martin and I met in 2003 via the Internet (not from match.com ;) but from me reaching out and complimenting his writing), than later that year we hung out when he and I were both in New York City. Martin is one of the smartest cats I know and he has been very successfully building a global brand for himself as a marketing and brand guru and bestselling author.