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June 5, 2011

Find your light.

When I was in high school I auditioned for the school production of "Fiddler on the Roof".  I remember the audition process very clearly as each girl sang and danced hoping to get the part of one of the daughters.  After our initial solo, the director would put us together in different group combinations to see how our voices sounded together, how we looked and moved together.  I remember watching some of the other groups audition and I noticed there were times when one or another of the girls would sort of disappear on stage because they moved out of the range of the lighting.  When it was my turn I paid very close attention to that light and made sure I never moved out of it. Since then, I have done many, many shows and I know the importance of finding your light.  At high level professional companies they have lighting rehearsals where all you do is walk around the stage while they sets the lights.  It's so important. I'm sure we've all seen shows where someone moves out of their spot light.  They just disappear. You do not want to disappear in the market place.  You need to […]
May 28, 2011

Are you marrying material?

We often talk about the importance of first impressions. They are, of course, extremely important. Great thought and effort is put into how we present ourselves for the first time in any situation.  Think about all those "firsts", a first date, a first job interview, meeting your child's teacher for the first time.  We put a little extra effort preparing for the first time we are going to meet someone we want to impress.  However, what about the second, third or even tenth time we have an encounter?  Chances are you relax into something less formal which is natural.  However, this can be a slippery slope when it comes to your brand. Great branding is based in consistency.  You certainly do want to make a spectacular first impression. In business a great first impression can open the door for you.  What keeps that door open, however, is what happens next. Anyone can look great and be charming once in a while, but it's how you behave and present yourself over the long haul that really matters.  You may date someone who is cute and fun to be with, but you probably would not marry that person unless they showed over time they were also kind, committed, caring, […]
May 21, 2011

Your Brand GPS

We all make mistakes.  Sometimes we don't realize we are making the mistake until after it's done, but a lot of times there are hints along the way that something isn't quite right.  Those hints come to us in the form of feelings.  Some people call those feelings their "little voice."  I like to think of the little voice as our Brand GPS.  It keeps us on course and gets us to our destination in the quickest, easiest way possible.  If you are clear about your brand, you can use your inner voice to guide you to make decisions that best serve your goals. However, there are times we all go "off brand" for whatever reason.  We make a decision that does not align with our brand, with the best of who we are or how we want to be percieved by others.  We get cocky and think we know better than the GPS so we make a wrong turn and go off course.  I recently did an audition where I sang as aria that was low and slow and the best part of my voice is my high notes!  As with any mistake the important thing is to get back on course as quickly […]
May 15, 2011

MIrror, Mirror on the Wall

"Nobody thinks that they dress unattractively, yet when you look around, it is clear that some people do."–Elizabeth Gordon, author of The Chic Entrepreneur From the clothes you wear, to the brochure you send out, to the website you create, you are projecting an image whether you are aware of it or not.  In order to "wow" your audience, your brand and image need to be stellar.  Here are a few tips to increase your chances of success. 1.  Know yourself.  What is it you are TRYING to say?  What message do you WANT people to get from you?  What is the goal of your marketing?  What kind of person do you want your clothing to reflect?  Knowing the answers to these questions is a good first step. 2.  Educate yourself.  We cannot be experts on everything, but thankfully we don't have to be.  There are thousands of books written every year on just about anything you'd like to learn.  Do you want to know how build a business wardrobe, master social media, be a better entrepreneur?  There's a book for that.  A couple of my current favorites are: Brenda's Wardrobe Companion by Brenda Kinsel and The Chic Entrepreneur by Elizabeth Gordon. 3.  Ask for feedback. Simple, right?  Yes, […]
May 2, 2011

A Royal Brand

In the past weeks you could not turn on the television, computer or radio without hearing about the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  Some people were glued to every detail while others were turned-off by the whole deluge of information.  Whichever side you came down on, you have to admit it was an incredibly successful event.  It produced all the grandeur and spectical one would expect from a royal wedding, yet somehow it also felt real and personal.  That my friends is a great example of successful branding! Ok, so it can be kind of crude to liken a wedding, one of the most significant days in a person's life, to personal branding.  You'll have to excuse me for the comparison (I guess it's the performer in me), but after all, when you get down to it, a wedding is a performance and performances are all about expression.  Of course, the main expression is the love and devotion the bride and groom have for each other, but many other things are expressed as well.  The dress the bride chooses, the flowers, the music, even the entree choices are all a reflection of the tastes and preferences of the happy couple and their families.  Wedding […]
April 24, 2011

Will your brand be memorable?

This week I am an vacation with my family in beautiful Sanibel, Florida.  We are renting a lovely house near the beach.  Upon arrival I met the current owner of the property who explained to me the house's original owner died six months after the house was completed and therefore some of the personal pictures are still on the walls.  As we settled in I had a chance to look around and noticed these pictures.  Much to my surprise they are snapshots of the former owner with Bill & Hillary Clinton, the Pope, with Jimmy Carter and several other extremely important figures.  Out of curiousity I also googled her and found out that she had been one of the most influencial activists and lobbyist in the political world in the 70's and 80's, a feat not easily accomplished, especially by a woman at that time. Staying in this house, looking at those pictures has made me think about my own legacy.  What mark am I making on the world, on my community, and most importantly, on my family?  What do I want to accomplish in my life time?  Fortunately, I am already pretty clear about my goals and my purpose because of my own personal branding.  My […]
April 18, 2011

Consistency is Key to Successful Branding

One complaint I often hear from my international friends is how homogenized the shopping experience can be in the United States.  You can go from Boston to Miami and find the exact same stores and the exact same merchandise in those stores.  True there are times when I long for a unique shopping experience, but I also find it comforting to know when I travel I can usually find whatever I need at a local Target store.  Or if I get hungry, I know I can get the egg-white flat bread sandwich at any Dunkin' Donuts.  You know what to expect when you think of those stores.  It is consistent and reliable. One of the wonderful benefits of watching a high-level artist is having the ability to get lost in the performance because you know they are going to deliver something great.  You don't worry about whether or not they will hit the notes.  These performers have earned our trust and as a result we continue to be fans and even evangelists on their behalf.  We have confidence in them because they are consistently spectacular. Of course, the same can be true for your personal brand, but first YOU must be consistent.  Are you consistent in the way you express […]
April 5, 2011

The Personal Branding Compass

I recently heard an interview with Elizabeth Lesser, a leader in the field of emotional intelligence, where she said, "If you don't know who you are, how can you follow your longings?"  It was such a simple , yet incredibly profound statement.  If you don't know who you are, how can you know what you want out of life?  If you don't know what you really want, how do you know in which direction to go?  This is where personal branding comes in.  At its core, personal branding is the process of discovering yourself.  When you are very clear about who you are, what your goals are and where your passions lie, you have a compass for your life. Your personal brand becomes your own due north.  The great thing about a compass is that it is portable.  Any time you feel like you are getting off track you can take it out and check your directions.  The same is true for personal branding.  If you ever feel  unsure of your next step you can check in with your brand.  Does the decision you are making conflict with your values?  Is it in alignment with your goals?  If you don't know the answers […]
March 5, 2011

The scenic road of personal branding

So many people are struggling to get "there," wherever that may be.  They want to be wealthier, happier, have better relationships, a better job and the list goes on.  When personal branding is done in a thoughtful, thorough way, "there" is "here."  It's not that you don't have goals, you certainly do, but the whole journey is aligned with your deepest values and desires, so each phase along has its own kind of satisfaction.  It's like raising kids.  When they are babies you think it's the cutest phase and you'll be so sad when it ends, but then the next phase comes and the kids learn to talk and walk and have little personalities and you think, "This is the most fun."  Then they get older and can do all kinds of activities which you watch or participate in and you think it's great all over again.  Of course, there are times and phases when you think it's not so fun, like when your 4 year old daughter writes in red lipstick all over your white office carpet, but the big journey is deeply rewarding.    Many years ago my husband and I went to Italy to hike the Cinque Terre, a trail connecting […]