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August 6, 2011

Does your brand need a hug?

I seem to be walking down memory lane more than usual lately. It may be because summer is a time when we travel more to reconnect with our friends and families that live further away.   For whatever reason though, I recently found myself thinking about my first piano solo. I was 6 years old and I was going to play a 15 second long piece for my church, about 50 people at the time.  My piano teacher was the minister's wife and she was sitting in the front pew smiling as I sat down to play.  When I started to play everything was going great until…I hit a wrong note.  So I started again.  I got to the same place again and made the SAME mistake.  This happened three times before my teacher couldn't stand it anymore.  She jumped up from her seat, came up and sat next to me on the piano bench, put her arm around me and whispered into my ear that I could do it.  I then went on to play the whole piece perfectly start to finish.  That's all it took. We all face those moments when our skill and preparation is tested whether it's in launching […]
July 30, 2011

Stop apologizing for your brand!

Doing branding work I have met some really incredible women.  I love getting to know my clients and hearing about their dreams and goals.  I am always impressed and delighted to hear about their past accomplishments, their unique experiences, and their visions for their businesses and their communities.  These are strong, smart, energized women.  However, I've also heard some of these same amazing women say things like "I know I should be charging more, but… I'm just really picky…I don't want to seem braggy…I know my standards are too high…"  We're all in trouble if having high standards is something you should apologize about! Why is it that even savvy, educated women still struggle with stepping into their own power?  I think one reason is from the time we are little we are encouraged to be nice, to share, to be helpful and not to raise our voices.  One of my least favorite phrases taught in preschool is "You get what you get and you don't get upset."   What if what you are given is garbage?  In preschool that is not usually the case, but sometimes in life it is, especially if you are shy about making your preferences known.   Another big reason women apologize for what they want is they want to be liked.  Of course, we […]
July 23, 2011

“Free your mind, and the rest will follow…”

I LOVE summer.  I do not like summer, I LOVE it.  Despite the inch-thick layer of gooey sunscreen I have to wear, despite the bozo-esque hair I sport after a dip in the pool, I still think summer rocks.  It’s the one time of the year when all my kids are free at the same time.  We don’t have to be at gymnastics, girl scouts or soccer.  We are free to rome and explore and do as we please. One of my favorite things to do on these steamy days is take the kids on mini-adventures.  We explore different parts of the city, a new beach or a new restaurant.  Last weekend we went into the North End of Boston and had pizza, gelato and a carousel ride.  I find after these little outings my mind feels freer and I have many more creative ideas.  I also often find myself adapting or incorporating something from these experiences into my routine when I return home.  This time it happened to be a wonderful watermelon and basil salad, yum. Summer is a great time to re-energize your brand too.  Things are not as rigid and structured as the rest of the year.  It’s […]
July 16, 2011

Great Brands are not “Discovered”

One of my very earliest memories is sitting on the corner of my block at about the age of 5 singing and making up songs hoping that someone would walk by, hear my voice and “discover” me. Now it’s hard for me to imagine that a 5 year old would have such thoughts, but I most certainly did.  I think we all have a desire to be scene and heard and to feel like people recognize our talents.  However, no one is going to “discover” you by simply walking past you on a street corner while you sing a little ditty. Since then, what I’ve learned over my many years of experience of singing professionally is that great singers are not “discovered.” They are molded, trained and refined.  Singers spend years discovering and rediscovering their voices.  Then spend endless hours pouring over repertoire trying to figure out what best suits their natural ability and can show their voice in its best possible light.  And then they go out and audition.  They show what they can do and they ask for the job.  If they don’t win the audition they try to get feedback on how they can do better the next time.  And then they go out and try […]
July 9, 2011

Persistent Branding Wins

We live in a world where almost anything you want is one click away.  You want to know the weather in Singapore, no problem. You want to see what your favorite celebrity did 5 minutes ago, check Twitter.  You want to keep mosquitoes away, there's even an app for repelling bugs at your fingertips!  However, if you want a strong brand, you are going to have to patient. The cornerstones of branding are clarity, consistency and constancy.  However, another vital component is persistence.  Persistence is a little bit differnt than consistency or constancy.  Persistence has a grittier quality.  It implies tenacity, a stick-to-itiveness in the face of a adversity.  Strong brands are built with persistent energy and attention, they are not like rockets that loose their intense power after their initial launch. All of us face times in building our businesses, our brands, or our lists when it feels like we are Sisyphus.  We put out or marketing messages, we Tweet, we blog, we speak and still it feels like nothing is happening.  However, things are happening.  It takes time and multiple exposures for your audience to get familiar with your brand.  Think of the "overnight" success of stars like Leonardo DiCaprio who  had to work his way through bit parts on shows from […]
July 2, 2011

Are you a Good Kisser?

Have you ever felt like you are running yourself ragged?  I learned a very important lesson this year.  I was spread too thin! I had taken on so many projects and commitments that I never felt relaxed or truly productive.  I was jumping from one thing to the next and  when I wasn't actually working on something, my mind was taking constant inventory of all the upcoming tasks I needed to do.  What I came to realize was all this busyness was interfering with my most important priorities.  The question became, what to do about it? I was reminded of the KISS principle I learned from my father-in-law.  For those of you who don't already know, KISS in this case stands for Keep It Simple Stupid.  Life can getting pretty complex when you are running a business and have any kind of life, especially if that life includes those gorgeous, demanding little creatures we call children.  We have about a million tasks and roles to manage from keeping up with business emails to coaching soccer to buying the one hundred or so end-of-year teacher gifts.  Then, of course, there is working out, planning meals, your book club, your kid's book club, designing a new logo, reading […]
June 25, 2011

Healthy Body, Healthy Brand

The other day I sat down to do some work.  I had actually scheduled this time a week earlier and reserved a private room at the library so I wouldn't be disturbed.  I had assessed my priorities days before and already knew exactly on what I was going to work.  I was really excited and proud to have planned, prepared and followed through with my goal.  However, about twenty minutes after I started to work, I completely lost steam.  I lost my energy and concentration and the ideas and words just stopped flowing.  I was so frustrated I finally packed it in and left. The problem was I was TIRED and HUNGRY. Time is such a precious resource when you are an entrepreneur with a family  and to have wasted this opportunity was infuriating.   We had had a very busy weekend with lots of commitments and in the mix of things, I had failed to take care of my number one business asset, my body.  Without the proper sleep and nutrition I could not do my job.   Fortunately for me, this was an isolated incident.  I know how important a healthy body is so I make it a priority to take care of myself.  As an entrepreneur YOU are […]
June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day to all you great dads!
June 18, 2011

Brand my Style

If you've ever struggled with what to wear, you are not alone.  Many people go into their closets, see their inventory of choices and just don't know what to put on.  They are unsure.  It's not always because they are unskilled at putting ensembles together, it often has more to do with how they are feeling.  "What do I want to wear today?"  "I don't feel like getting dressed up."  "It's not worth the effort." "I want to feel comfortable."  "I want something to make me feel happy?"  "Does this make me look pretty?" While using your daily emotional barometer as a tool for choosing how to dress isn't necessarily as bad thing, I would suggest it is not the most effective way of creating a powerful impact with your appearance.  A better way to approach the decision of what to wear on a daily basis is to think of your brand and your projected goals.  Ask yourself "How do I want to be seen?" "What impression do I want to make on my customers?"  "What do I stand for?"  "What are my career goals?"  "What kind of people do I want to attract into my life?"   When you start to think about these bigger questions it shifts […]
June 11, 2011

You don’t get paid to sing in the shower.

We all love to sing in the shower.  One reason is because the acoustics are awesome. Your voice pings off the tiles and the sound of the rushing water usually makes just enough noise to block out any tiny imperfections in an otherwise Met-worthy tone.   More than likely though, the real reason most people love it so much is because it’s one of the few places they can let it rip with complete abandon.  There is no audience to make us feel self-conscious or judge us.  However, there is also no one there to pay us for our killer vocals or spread the word about spectacular performance. If you are not effectively getting your message out about your business you are doing the equivalent of singing in the shower.  You may feel all the courage in the world writing your business plan, dreaming up your big goals, or designing a your beautiful new website, but unless you get out in front of people and show them what you can do, you are an audience of one.   It can feel scary to step out and say “Here I am. This is what I do and I do it well, so well in fact, that you should pay me for my talents.”  However, the alternative to taking […]