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May 15, 2012

Nurture your Business

For Mother’s Day this year our family spent a fun the day at the beach. It was a warm, sunny day so many other families were also there strolling in the sand. As I looked around, I saw moms changing diapers, chasing toddlers and playing frisbee with their teenagers. It struck me how good parenting is constant even if the specifics of the job description changes over time. Obviously, the immediate needs of a 3 year old are very different from those of a 13 year old, but the fundamentals do not change over time. Kid of all ages need love and guidance to thrive. They need to be nurtured.
May 8, 2012

Is Your Brand a Winner?

This past weekend was the running of the Kentucky Derby. I really didn’t give much thought to it until I ran into another mom who told me she was going to attend a Derby party that night. At first I had no idea what she was talking about, but once she explained it was a Kentucky Derby party I was really fascinated. I started peppering her with questions. Will you wear a hat? Will there be betting? Will there be a signature drink? “Well, of course!” she replied. Hats, wagers and mint juleps were all on the menu. In recent years it seems like more and more people are throwing these kinds of home spectator parties. No longer do people just gather for the annual Superbowl. Theme parties spread the gamut from erudite election parties to glitzy Oscar parties complete with red carpet. All this partying has me thinking. Fun and frivolity aside, what is the deeper appeal of the spectator party and what does it have to do with branding?
May 2, 2012

To Do or Do To Do, That is the Brand Question.

We are so lucky to live at this time and in this society. Now more than ever there is an abundance of opportunity. However, with all this opportunity it is sometimes difficult to know which choices to make. If you are trying to decide between a good option and a bad one the choice is obvious, but what do you do when there is no obvious distinction between a good and bad idea? What if you have more than one appealing opportunity? How do you know what to do?
April 23, 2012

Make a Lean, Clean Business Machine

Ah, the flowers are blooming, the grass is growing and the birds are chirping. It is definitely spring. It’s time for baseball, strolls in the park and of course, spring cleaning. For some, the idea of spring cleaning is about as appealing as getting a tooth pulled. Others love the process of clearing the decks and getting everything spic and span. Whether you love it or hate it, doing a deep, thorough cleaning once in a while is a necessary and important process for both your home and your business. One of the reasons people resist any kind of cleaning process is because it requires assessing where they currently are. Whatever choices you have made up to that point are reflected in your environment. If the shop has been carefully watched and managed, the cleaning process will be fairly easy with a simple tweak here and there. If overwhelm or complacency has sneaked in over time, the job will be much harder. You suddenly find yourself face to face with the results of your choices and sometimes that can be quite unpleasant. Perhaps you have slacked off in your marketing efforts and your client stream has dried up. As uncomfortable as this realization can be, however, it affords you the opportunity […]
April 17, 2012

The Pace of Business

Today is Marathon Day in Boston. Thousands of runners from around the world will come to run the 26.2 mile course from Hopkinton to Boston. This is the 116th year of the race, but in all those years I doubt the runners have ever encountered the heat they will today. The temperature is suppose to reach the high 80’s. Even the most seasoned runners have been advised to pace themselves carefully. Upon hearing the warnings, my young daughter asked me what it means to pace yourself.
April 10, 2012

Is your Brand a Brown Box or a Thoughtful Gift?

Content is king, right? That’s what we are told over and over again. While I believe you need to have quality services and products to offer your clients, I don’t believe great content is a panacea for drawing in and converting eager clients. Substantive content is vital to building a valuable and trustworthy brand, however, it isn’t necessarily what is going to grab the attention of your audience.  What you need to go along with your relevant content is enticing packaging. There, I’ve said it. You can all start throwing your tomatoes now. I know for many people the idea of glorifying packaging is exactly what they dislike about marketing. They feel it devalues the core of the message or product they are creating and selling. As consumers we sometimes
April 3, 2012

Put a little Spring into your Brand Step.

One of the pillars of good branding is consistency. Consistency makes your brand stick in the minds of your audience. The more consistent you are with your brand message and image, the more recognizable and memorable your brand becomes. When you are consistent, you develop a reputation for being reliable. However, we need to be careful we don’t let the reliability of our brands allow them to get boring. Sure, reliability and consistency are the foundations of successful branding, but let’s face it, if that’s all you have going for your brand it’s about as exciting as an old shoe. If you really want to entice your audience you are going to have to trade in those clunky loafers for some sexy sandals. Here are some of my tips for putting some spice in the soul of your brand:
March 26, 2012

A Change is Gonna Come

Tis March and the weather in New England has been predictably unpredictable. This year, however, the unpredictability has been extreme. Last week it was 80 degrees in Boston and the kids in our town were stuck taking the state standardized tests in a school building without air conditioning. I, along with everyone else, was also caught off guard by the warm weather. Tomorrow night the temperature is suppose to drop down into the 20’s! Every morning is a new adventure. In New England we are used to fluctuations in the weather, but this year has been a real roller coaster ride. It is one thing when the weather throws you for a loop, but how do you handle it when your business climate fluctuates? How do you stay cool with unexpected heat? How do you get the fire burning when things suddenly turn cold? While you can’t know every twist and turn in the road, there are strategies you can employ to stop those speed bumps from stripping the underbelly of your engine.
March 19, 2012

Open Wide

There is a very funny phenomenon that happens when people first start taking voice lessons. They have a tendency to try to sing with their mouths closed! It’s a very strange thing. The whole point of lessons is to open up the instrument and learn how to let the voice soar. You would think if someone is willing to invest the time and money to actually take singing lessons it would be natural to open up and sing.  However, I have seen the contrary many, many times in my own teaching and watching other singers in master classes. Why is this so? First, people are NOT AWARE they are not opening their mouths fully. Often when one sings with a partially closed mouth the voice actually sounds quite large on the inside. The sad truth is, however, the sound is getting trapped inside the singer’s body, rumbling around inside their throat, their mouth and their ears. It is not being projected out. As a result, the sound from the outside is small and muffled. Secondly, in spite of the fact the student has invested in lessons and thus shown a genuine interest in learning to sing, they are AFRAID to let their voice out. Again, I have seen it many times, […]
March 12, 2012

Think Like a Woman, Act Like a Woman

This month marks International Women’s Month where we celebrate the accomplishments of women and inspire women to be their best. This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking at an Empowered Women’s Seminar where we all shared our expertise and encouragement. It was very satisfying and exciting. However, one thing that stood out to me was the topic of safety. As many of the women in the group were business women who consult and sometimes travel to different locations for work, the issue of keeping yourself safe on the job came up. It struck me in that moment once again, how different men and women really are. I somewhat doubt an issue of personal safety would have been at the forefront of a business seminar for men. For women, however, no matter how successful you are, it is still a real concern. When I came home I mentioned that part of the seminar to my husband and he said, “That’s something I don’t usually think about.” Of course not, it’s just not something men think about as much. Have you ever heard or seen the slogan “Think like a man, act like a woman?”  I have always been slightly uncomfortable with that slogan, but it […]