OK Business Entrepreneurs, this is really about the Business of Recognizing Yourself__ so Others Can.
We’re living in a 21C new world__ I call it 21C Business Unusual. Because we’re all having different kinds of conversations across more platforms than we ever could imagine. Right.
Some days, we’re not even sure how we’re going to manage our messaging – and keep it on target, consistent and, of course fascinating.
So taking a close look at your business brand and the story you tell – as well as the subliminal messaging you put out to the world 24/7 – is one of the best ways to recognize who are you, what you do, why it matters — and why anyone should give a damn.
OK where do you start? A Brand Audit tends to make the difference. You get a professional’s outsider’s point of view. It helps you understand the WHY, WHAT and HOW you really deliver. Once you seriously can name that and own it, you will be be more recognized and seen by the people you most want to see you. Here’s my methodology:
The best news? A Brand Audit makes sense of the messaging dialogs going on inside your brand brain, help you to turn the lens inwards on your unique creative value, embed your individualistic energy into your brand – and then, help you be willing to show up in a more mindful and authentic way.
FYI One of the most common questions that keep coming up with my clients is: how can I best communicate who I really am on this new 21C brand landscape? How can I speak in my own voice and get the right tone — so others know exactly who I am and understand the kind of value I bring to the table?
A brand audit helps you start re-imagining and reframing the way you think. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to close more sales, stand out in the marketplace, get promoted, build a community or looking to kick start your business. It will help people understand who you are and what you stand for.
“Van can switch from multinational to entrepreneur mindsets in a flash – across sectors, channels and audiences but with a brand’s own story running fast through each. She has the instinct of a true marketer that shapes every story right – and a client side manner built on trust and rapport to bring it all together. I think any brand will be the better for talking to her.” __Nick Stravs, Corporate Reputation Specialist | nickstravs.ch
1.) Brand Audit: An Un-Biased Evaluation. Because every healthy, highly-functioning brand wants a bit of honest feedback, evaluation, assessment and help getting on the right track.
Booking an Audit is where you get help in pulling back the layers, finding out what’s really going on behind your brand and story, the points of pain that are getting in the way __and then, wet get to turn it around so you’re not shooting yourself in the foot, anymore.
Ask yourself: is my messaging communicating who I am, what I do and why it matters? This process is really about bringing more meaning and purpose to the business table. How willing are you to evaluate, assess and tweak the kind of messaging you are sending out? PS It takes courage.
Take away: Look for the clues that might be doing your business a disservice. Ask your colleagues for their honest feedback. Is your site communicating the message you want out in the world? Does it reflect you, and your own unique value? And is it obvious and clear what your purpose is? Plus how easy are you making it for others to pick up on your value?
2.) Brand Story: Why you do what you do. Because every healthy brand loves a well-articulated and irresistible story.
This is where you look at YOUR WHY. Because understanding your WHY will give you all the clues you need to create a meaningful story. This is about coaxing out your creative core essence and getting right to the heart of your brand.
Where to start? Start tapping into the reasons why you’re working at what you do. Or why you started your business in the first place? I bet you have a remarkable ‘back story’ that would fascinate people. As in: share something about you that they’d never be able to know. Articulate that story. Make it personal – be creative and courageous, again.
Ask yourself: Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone? Actually open up just a little so others can get to see you, know you, like you — and trust you. Because that’s when people reach out to you, want to work with you and your organization, hire you.
On a personal note: When I started sharing my story of being a Dutch sea captain’s daughter, I was amazed at the reaction. Some people had trouble remembering my name but they had no problem remembering the Dutch sea captain’s daughter. Because it’s a potent, visual picture that tells a story and it lands a spot in their psyche. Interesting, right.
3.) Brand Identity: Are you who you say you are? Because every healthy brand longs for a fascinating identity.
We live in a design-driven culture. So you better get used to the fact that design is here to stay! It’s never been more important to pay attention to the design aesthetic around your brand.
Ask yourself: Is my logo, color palette and language inviting, warm, energizing — or is it making people want to look the other way?
Ask yourself: What score would you give to your own current logo, site, marketing materials? Would this material stop you — and make you gasp?! If you can’t answer HELL YES to that question, I’d suggest you think about what kinds of design really excites you and make you want more…
4.) Brand Transformation: Why what you do matters. Every healthy brand adores fine-tuning along the way.
Your brand is never static. It’s not just your logo. Or your tagline. Or the color of the uniforms your staff wear. Or the color palette on your website. Your brand is a living, breathing organism that needs regular monitoring, checking in and keeping things on track.
In this final step, think about WHAT you do and why that matters. Why your audience/tribe should care about buying from you. This is about paying attention to bringing as much energy and mindfulness to your brand so it feels alive, engaging — and totally authentic.
If you still think your website as a kind of ‘static holding place’ that really has no significance in the scheme of things, you have to think again. Everyone is checking your website. Before they choose to work with you. Before they make that call to you. It’s the energy you create around your site and online presence that is now the determining factor.
Ask yourself: Rather, ask some of your favorite clients/colleagues for some seriously-honest feedback. As in: What kind of feeling do you pick up when you go on my site? Does my online brand communicate what I am really like? What we really do? And the unique value I really bring to the table?
If you’d like a little help around getting your brand audited, take a look at what we’ll explore in a 90 minute session. The best news? We’ll zero in on exactly what your brand most needs in order to land a spot on the 21C new brand landscape.
Business Strategy: We’ll look at how to manage your reputation so you show up like you mean it. We tap into what makes your customer’s brain tick so your brand message can better relate & resonate with them.
Creative Storytelling: We’ll evaluate, then rethink and craft your own messaging with exactly the right tone, voice and language. (You’ll never keep your audience at arm’s length again.)
Brand Marketing: How to amp up your Emotional Intelligence (EQ), strengthen your relationship with your audience and create more trust so they’ll be your fans forever.
Emotional Intelligence: How can you keep you audience leaning in closer – hearts beating, eyes gleaming? We’ll monitor the kind of messaging your brand is communicating 24/7. Reality check: Your brand is sending out subliminal messages and invisible clues 24/7 whether you know it or not.
Any questions about the process? Get in touch and we can continue the dialog: email@example.com. Or for more info: http://www.zingyourbrand.com/book-a-brand-audit/
Here’s to the business of recognizing who you — so others can!
This article by Hal Conick, staff writer for AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters, was published September 12, 2016. I’m thrilled to be included!
How can marketers take advantage of the freelance and entrepreneurial economy? Three solo marketers discuss their roads to success in independence.
by Hal Conick
Marketing News | September 12, 2016 | American Marketing Association ama.org
If you’re fed up with working for someone else, you aren’t alone. There were 15.5 million self-employed workers as of May 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up 1 million from 2014.
While there’s no known statistic of marketers who have gone solo, there are plenty of marketing professionals who have struck out on their own within that 15.5 million. This may mean freelance, or starting a consultancy or business of their own.
Aaron Zwas, director of emerging technologies at Digital Marketing Works, founder of Zwas Group and author of the book Transition to Independence, says the marketer’s knack for branding may make the transition easier. After all, they have an ability to self-market. However, marketers aren’t immune to difficulty when the product they’re selling is themselves. This exists among other common complaints.
“The most common issues that stop people from going independent include the need for financial security, insufficient potential business, and no desire to ‘take it all on,’” he says. “Each of these issues are significant and valid, but none of them should be show-stoppers. Instead, they should be used as opportunities for careful planning and preparation for transition.”
Marketers, or any other professional transitioning to independence, must ensure they have a long-lasting business model and a service that won’t go out of style. They also need the ability to adapt to changing times. This means not focusing too much on the brand, Zwas says; just enough to get recognized.
“The best independents are very clear on their particular expertise,” Zwas says. “The other defining quality is that they have relatively good communication skills, which help them to interact with their clients and therefore improve client retention rates.”
The most common areas of failure are insufficient planning and prep, as well as lack of planning for how the non-work side of life will be affected by one striking off on their own.
Zwas says independent-minded marketers should know they will have a leg-up on others, but they need to establish their area of expertise early and set proper rates competing on value instead of price.
To highlight the path to independence, Marketing News spoke with three entrepreneurial marketers about their journeys to independence.
Susan Silver, president of Argentum Strategy Group, started in June 2006
Q: How was starting your own business at the beginning? How long did it take to get the hang of it?
A: It was scary but exciting at the same time at the beginning. I had run large businesses at Kraft Foods for 10 years (the largest had a $300 million P&L), so I applied what I had learned there about building a plan and positioning my own business. And while applying my marketing knowledge to much smaller businesses was new territory for me, the fundamental skills and processes were the same at their core. It was a question of learning how to adapt them and teach the concepts to people unfamiliar with marketing.
I was starting up, I also talked with a lot of people who were already independent consultants. I asked for their perspective and advice. I also asked everyone I spoke with how they were continuing to learn. This was a big concern of mine, as I didn’t want my marketing expertise to stagnate. The people I spoke with said that it typically takes about four to six years before you really feel like you’re in the groove. At about the four year mark, I really felt like things began to hum.
Q: What’s the biggest advantage of running your own business?
A: My clients typically hire me because they do not have internal marketing strategy expertise. That means they value what I contribute to their team and their business. It’s wonderful to be appreciated that way. I love being able to flex my time if I need to, but I generally work the same hours as my friends who are not self-employed.
At my five-year anniversary, one of my friends congratulated me for not having had a boss for five years. I laughed and told him I’d had 40 bosses since I started.
Q: Do you have any advice for marketers looking to go independent?
A: Know that not all of your working hours will be billable. Rule of thumb is roughly 50% billable, 40% business development and 10% administrative. Paying for my own health care is the single scariest thing about being an entrepreneur.
I run my business like a business. I track a 12-month rolling average of leads in and maintain detailed records of every single lead that comes in. I also track a rolling 12-month average of invoices, close rate, percent of referrals, etc. Always make time for business development.
Rob Frankel, branding expert, founded Frankel and Anderson in 1986
Q: Why did you start your own business?
A: After working in a bunch of ad agencies (fired by two, hired away by six) I had so much freelance work that I decided working to make myself rich was preferable to making the senior agency dopes rich.
Q: How was it? Did you get the hang of it quickly?
A: I was always a business-type guy, and I’d been running a nice freelance operation, so the adjustment didn’t take very long for me. While I was working at other agencies, I took the time to learn about their business and operations. What worked, what didn’t. As a result, when I started F&A as an ad agency, we were–and remained–highly profitable.
Q: What’s the advantage to running an independent business?
A: No politics. More efficiency. No arguments or discussions with people who don’t share the same visions. Everything moves faster, smoother and usually more successfully.
Q: What’s your advice for other marketers looking to make the transition?
A: Adapt. Nothing is more important. Since its founding, Frankel & Anderson has morphed from an ad agency to a branding consultancy to a holding company for all my ventures, including my new book. I bought out my original partner very early in the game. He wasn’t a businessman. He was a very talented one-trick pony: all he could do is create ads. Probably still does to this day. I realized that the ad business was changing into a media-intensive business, and media was never my specialty: strategy was. So I adapted into a brand strategist, which is why I wrote.
Mary van de Wiel, creative brand strategist, founder of Zing Your Brand in 2007
Q: What was it like starting your company?
A: In full disclosure, it was almost effortless getting my own company up and running. That’s why I’ve always felt very lucky and very grateful, needless to say. Everything seemed to just fall into place.
Q: What are the advantages you’ve found in independence?
A: The best advantage? You get to pick and choose the kind of creative talent and energy you want to see every day. And look forward to seeing them every day. I’d say that’s quite a privilege.
The ability to resonate with people, understand their values/experiences/stories and know they’re keen to bring more meaningful thinking to the table is a hugely exhilarating and rewarding experience. What’s more, if you find people with a high passion quotient, a keen sense of curiosity and the willingness to learn (and fail quickly)—then, it’s 100% win-win. You can’t teach those innate skills easily. What could be better than working in such good company?
Example: Looking for a new designer? I’d choose the person (with talent, certainly) who had a spring in their step and that twinkle in their eye. You can spot that kind of energy the minute they walk through the door. Although I always had a small team, they were brilliant and highly eclectic individuals. I couldn’t have asked for more.
Q: What advice do you have for other marketers looking to strike out on their own?
A: Make sure you’re mad/crazy about what you do. And make sure you’re good. Very good. If not, you’re wasting your time. And everyone else’s. Master your own inner environment; know yourself (inside and out.) It’s not an option. What’s more, understanding what makes you tick is the game changer. Your mindset is the killer app here. So being empathetic, understanding how to listen to people and hear what’s really going on between the silent gaps is critical.
Differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack. Be 100% clear about what makes you so different from your competitors. Of course, being a brander, I’m going to suggest that if you don’t build a brand that stands out like you mean it, you’re toast. Remember, your brand is really just a feeling people have about you. Make it easy for them to understand who you are, what you do, why you do what you do— and why they should give a damn.
Being in partnership can make a big difference. (I’m sorry I never found the right biz partner.) But I’ve certainly watched biz partners dancing in sync, and it’s like magic. If you’ve got the inspiring, creative brain, make sure your partner knows about logistics. P.S. Business partnerships are like a marriage. Don’t fall into a biz relationship unless you know exactly who you’re dealing with. Trust helps.
Hal Conick is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @HalConick.
Sunday August 21, 2016 – Thursday August 25, 2016
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
For the full program package,
I’m thrilled to be launching the ‘Business-Unusual’ Retreat with a focus on creativity, intention, desire and 21C business right in the heart of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in August. That’s five magical days & five nights in Central Mexico…
It’s really about giving yourself the time to uncover your most creative self and return to your business and digital world with a clear brand vision –– one that will cut through all the clutter (and make your message sing like a mariachi!)
High in the mountain town of San Miguel de Allende in Central Mexico (UNESCO World Heritage site) – and housed in an enchanting 18th century villa, Casa Rosada, you’ll be able to unplug and get clear in a series of 21C Business- Unusual workshop sessions: I’m leading the creative strategy/branding sessions plus we’ve planned a inspirational half day in the Mexican campo (countryside) for equine-guided experiential learning led by a Kentucky trainer Marti McGinnis. This is about making heart-felt connections with a 1,200 lb horse. I’m also delighted to have renowned New York photographer Elizabeth Watt join us for her insightful heart-felt sessions on the The Art of Seeing. PS And I’m going to run a session on creativity and desire where we’ll explore how to coax out our creativity. I’ll share a little about my personal story re how BlackLineCrazy.com got started right here in San Miguel in 2014. Magical things happen in this 15C mountain town.
Q. Why Business-Unusual?
You can not do business as usual. Not any more. In this New Digital Era, your best competitive advantage is being transparent and showing up like you mean it. What’s more, keeping your clients at arm’s length or keeping a low profile is no longer an option. Seriously.
For the full program and package details, go to zingyourbrand.com/5-day-retreat/
See you over on there! Va
The scenario: Last week, sipping a coffee at Buen Dia cafe on Calle de la Pueblita, I was contacted by Hal Conick, writer for the American Marketing Association. Hal asked if I would comment on Microsoft and the potential damage being done to its brand by its very own Chatbot called Tay. Here’s Hal’s article that appeared a few days ago.
Will Microsoft’s AI Chatbot’s Racist Tweets Hurt its Brand?
By: Hal Conick, staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. Reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @HalConick.
What? Microsoft released an AI Chatbot named Tay that the company hoped would learn from conversations on the social media platform. The chatbot ended up going silent after a group of Twitter users targeted a vulnerability, making it tweet out racist, xenophobic comments.
So What? How will this affect Microsoft’s brand? Branding experts said it may not at all. However, Microsoft’s response and how the company moves forward may determine a lot.
Now what? “Sometimes they work, sometimes they fail. When they succeed they’re amazing, and [expressing] that they’re open to the public’s reactions to certain things [is important],” one branding expert says.
Microsoft’s AI chatbot “Tay” was attempting to learn how to interact with humans. Instead, it was hijacked by trolls and learned nasty, racist language. Will the Twitter fail adversely affect Microsoft’s brand?
Twitter trolls have claimed another victim.
Microsoft’s artificial intelligence chatbot “Tay,” which uses the handle @TayandYou, went offline almost as quickly as it began chatting with users. The bot was created to have quick-witted conversations with the 18 to 24 crowd on Twitter and lean how to interact with people on the platform over time, the company said.
“The more you chat with Tay the smarter she gets, so the experience can be more personalized for you,” Microsoft’s website for Tay said.
However, Tay’s last tweet was on March 23. Instead of learning human communication from your average Twitter account, Tay was spouting xenophobic, racist, and absurd sentiments from Twitter’s cadre of trolls. Tay tweeted that the holocaust was fabricated, agreed with white power slogans, used racial slurs, and admitted support of genocide.
“c u soon humans need sleep now so many conversations today thx <3,” Tay’s most recent tweet reads. A string of its most incendiary tweets have since been deleted.
On Friday, Peter Lee, corporate vice president for Microsoft Research, posted an apology on Microsoft’s blog. “Tay is now offline and we’ll look to bring Tay back only when we are confident we can better anticipate malicious intent that conflicts with our principles and values,” he wrote.
Lee wrote that the Microsoft team put Tay through multiple stress tests to ensure interactions with the bot would be a positive experience, but what he called a “coordinated attack” of people on Twitter exploited vulnerabilities in the chatbot.
Screenshot from Tay’s Twitter account from Business Insider
“Although we had prepared for many types of abuses of the system, we had made a critical oversight for this specific attack,” Lee wrote. “As a result, Tay tweeted wildly inappropriate and reprehensible words and images. We take full responsibility for not seeing this possibility ahead of time.”
How does something like this affect Microsoft’s brand? Rob Frankle, an independent branding strategist and consultant who works with Fortune 1000 companies, says he doesn’t believe it will hurt it at all. In fact, Frankle doesn’t believe Microsoft had anything to lose by experimenting in this way, as he doesn’t believe they truly have a brand at all.
“[Microsoft] does some things really well, but the fact is that as a brand, most people don’t really have a lot of loyally to Microsoft,” he says. “They haven’t cultivated a brand. They have never had a brand; they have an identity. But in my experience, given availability and cost issues, most Microsoft people, if they can choose another solution, probably would. … They are a tactical company, not a brand company.”
In fact, this situation be end up as an opportunity for Microsoft, he says: It gave Tay a good shot and can use the Thomas Edison Defense. “If you ask Thomas Edison, he didn’t create the lightbulb the first time out; he discovered 10,000 ways not to invent the light bulb.” It shows that the company is trying something new, he says, and they’ve never been a company that is afraid to fail. Frankle points out the countless clips of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer “getting all sweaty and jumping around like a nerd on stage and looking stupid” and Bill Gates’ famed blue-screen-of-death during Windows 98’s launch.
“There’s far worse stuff than this,” Frankle says with a chuckle. “This is sort of a technology thing. Everyone knows you can game technology.”
Karen Post, a branding expert and owner of Bran Tattoo Branding, says the Tay incident may be embarrassing momentarily for Microsoft, but innovators know that “launch and learn” is now a common practice in technology.
“Our society is forgiving and in many cases has a very select memory. The last brand blow up is quickly replaced with the latest brand blow up,” Post says. “The upside of this is … Microsoft is playing [in] the sand box, trying new things and aiming to better understand its customer and prospect. As long as it responds in a timely fashion, it will be fine.”
Marketing News spoke with Mary van de Wiel, a branding expert and CEO of Zing Your Brand, on Thursday before Lee wrote the apology blog post. Van de Wiel said she believes in making companies look more human by having more human dialog, and this was a fantastic opportunity for just that. She doesn’t believe Tay’s failure will negatively affect the brand, but said she hopes this would open up a greater conversation about where this kind of hatred and vitriol came from on social media platforms like Twitter.
“I would want my person at Microsoft to come out and talk about human responses, [and] create an amazing context for this kind of dialog,” she said. “Say ‘This is what we did and we could have waited until it was more fine-tuned, but it is powered by machine intelligence. Of course it’s going to be tricky.’ Maybe [Microsoft could] acknowledge that and instead of being embarrassed, say ‘We understand machine intelligence is not giving us what we need.’”
Frankle, like Post and van de Wiel, believes there is an opportunity to turn this into a positive branding experience,
“[Microsoft execs] should have some kind of focused effort on innovation and some sort of notion to the public about how they are a company that is always testing things, is always trying to develop things. Sometimes they work, sometimes they fail. When they succeed they’re amazing, and [expressing] that they’re open to the public’s reactions to certain things [is important],” he says.
Author Bio: Hal Conick
Hal Conick is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @HalConick.
Show Up Like you Mean It
(Or, How to Create an Irresistible Brand)
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
A PERSONAL AND BRANDING WORKHSOP
DESIGNED FOR WOMEN
Dates: Tuesday. March 22 and Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Time: 2pm-6pm (two consecutive afternoons)
Location: Life Path Center, Rinconada de La Aldea 24, San Miguel de Allende GTO 37750
Cost: US$125 PayPal (special offer)
To register: email Van–email@example.com
Let’s face it, every entrepreneur, artist, business owner and change maker has brand issues. If they’re serious enough, they’re going to shoot you in the foot — and just get in the way of your success. Creative strategist and brand storyteller Mary van de Wiel calls that a serious issue.
After this roll-up-your-sleeves workshop, you’ll walk away looking at your brand through a different lens: A new sense of clarity. A keen understanding about why you do what you do, why it matters, and why anyone should give a damn. Let’s face it:
• a new paradigm shift is inviting us to bring a different kind of humanity back to the table.
• all the rules are changing: the world has never been as transparent or connected 24/7.
• this is the new Social Era. Some call it the Era of Engagement. Whatever you want to call it, if you want to cut through the noise, you need to show up and join the conversation.
• keeping people (your clients, customers, audience) at arm’s length or keeping a low profile is no longer an option today.
With all these accelerating levels of uncertainty, the business of creating an irresistible brand, and a reputation to go along with it, has never been more critical.
Note: Google recently announced they’re only rewarding and ranking people and organizations with relevant brands and irresistible stories to tell. It’s the key to wining hearts, inspiring minds and capturing the imagination of customers.
After this highly interactive roll-up-your-sleeves workshop (over two afternoons), you’ll walk away looking at your brand through a different lens: You’ll have a new sense of clarity, a keen understanding about why you do what you do, and how to create messaging that hits home.
How to show up like you mean it? (3 Steps)
First of all, your brand is all about how people feel about you, what you do, what you offer, why it matters –– and why anyone should care. We’ll look at how to:-
1) Master your Inner Technology
— We look at neuroscience, mindfulness, EQ and their impact on all that you do.
— We’re not the rational beings we think we are. (90% of our decisions are emotionally based.)
— We’re all longing for more meaningful experiences. Transactions don’t resonate as much.
— It’s not about winning. It’s about inviting people to engage in a different kind of conversation.
2) Lead as Values-Based Influencer
— Your values define who you are and shape your reputation.
— Values are your rocket fuel. They give out important information about you 24/7
— Fact: “68% of people choose not to buy from you or your organization because they can’t tell the difference between you and the other guy.” Values close the gap.
3) Connect as Chief Brand Storyteller
— Through story, you build connection and land a memorable spot in people’s psyche
— Your story is how you engage hearts, minds and imaginations
— Congruence and authenticity are key. Be willing to show up (vulnerability plays a part.)
You’ll walk away with a new understanding, tools and action plans:
* Your brand communicates subliminal messaging to the world 24/7 (whether you know it or not.) It’s never been more important to be mindful around creating an irresistible brand.
* We live in a customer-centric world. So your brand need more clarity in order to make more meaningful connections that matter to people.
* Your values shape and define who you are, what you do and why you do it. When you can identify and champion your own values (own, live and breath them), the brand story you tell is much more compelling. People will feel the difference.
* Emotional intelligence and self-awareness are today’s meta-skills for for an irresistible brand. Courage and the desire to be transparent is always going to land a higher score with people.
* Developing your own core brand story is an emboldening strategy. Genuine, personal and relevant stories always hit home.
Any questions, get in touch: Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
1. We live in a Global Village All good brands like to land a spot on the global map. What’s more, the world is watching 24/7. So creating an irresistible brand means you’re going to have to speak directly to the big wide world out there — with intention, in your voice — so people can hear you, and sense that you ‘are who you say you are.’ So what’s the tone and energy around your brand?
2. Storytelling is the Currency of our Time Share your Brand Story with the world in a new, provocative way. Connect the dots, look at the defining moments in your life and your business, and what led you to the very spot you are standing in, right now. There’s a narrative right there…in that journey, and the more it connects emotionally with people, the better. Because a true, heart-felt story resonates deeply. So don’t keep them at arm’s length. They’re longing to connect.
3. Curiosity and Willingness? There’s nothing quite like the desire to go to new places – and see the future. It helps if you are a nimble and agile thinker as it keeps you alert to new opportunities as they fall in front of you – and the inclination to act on them. Understand that people can sense and pick up on this desire. So my question for you is: Are you willing, curious and alert? PS complacency is a killer.
4. Peripheral Vision The ability to see outside the lines of sight is critical right now. In life and in business. It helps to shift your perspective, see the other person’s point of view. It often brings compassion, a heightened sensitivity and the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This kind of empathy and understanding goes a long way in building trust and meaningful relationships in your business. Are you understanding what other people’s issues are and how you can make a difference? Can they see that twinkle in your eye?
5. Desire to Go Big, Bold and Provocative In this over-saturated marketplace, one of the best ways to soar above your competition is by creating your own signature brand that will make you stand out. Focus on what makes you truly different. Then translate that across your business. So how brave and fearless are you when it comes to showing up bigger and bolder? This is not the time to be small. PS If you can brand with heart, and with intention, you’re going to be miles ahead of your competition.
6. Take the Role of Brand Guardian Seriously You are the guardian of your brand. You’d be amazed at the number of business owners who are not paying attention to their brand. Brands like to be nurtured need your attention 24/7. You brand is never done, so to speak. It needs to change, grow and evolve just like everything else. So what kind of Brand Guardian are you? Because if you nurture your brand, people will be able to tell, and feel the difference. Guaranteed.
7. Wear the Hat of Master of Serious Play Believe it or not, brands have a tendency to want to play, live out loud and have a bit of fun along the way! It’s the one characteristic that is hugely attractive to people/clients and it will certainly keep them paying attention! Of course, it’s about keeping a fine balance between being professional and playful so make sure you can walk that tightrope with grace. PS if you’re not having enough fun with your brand, go out and start addressing this issue immediately. It will pay off, I promise.
8. Knock the Socks off your Clients (and your Competition) There is something very valuable about delivering what you say you will. It doesn’t happen every day, by the way. On the other hand, if you over deliver and add value, your clients will see the difference, and be asking for more. So how are you knocking the socks off your customers? (Because your competitors will be hearing about it.)
9. Fact: We live in a Design-Driven Culture You better get used to the fact that design is here to stay. If you’re not paying attention to the value of the design aesthetic in your business, you’re going to be hurting the bottom line. In fact, research tells us that our brains process images/visuals 60,000 faster than just plain text. So how much attention are you giving to being the visual storyteller and visual thinker in your business? Look around. See what appeals to you visually and then bring some of that magic back into your business.
10. What’s the Buzz around Your Brand? All good brands love a lot of attention. They weren’t created to sit in the back seat let alone be apologetic. There’s something totally irresistible about being truly authentic and credible. Use language that is engaging, real and true. Get out of your comfort. Expand your boundaries. Dare a little. You will find it’s worth it.
@2015 Mary van de Wiel | www.ZingYourBrand.com
Mary van de Wiel + Jan Howlin
Playful, bold and exuberant, Black Line Boogie presents a collection of black and white artworks that celebrate the power of line and spontaneous mark-making. There are works on paper and canvas, and functional and sculptural ceramics, all of which make high-drama mileage from simple means to create a dynamic immersive black line environment.
Longtime friends and creative colleagues, van de Wiel and Howlin had each been, independently and quite coincidentally, pursuing a visual arts practice in which black line plays a major role.
It was only when the idea of exhibiting together was suggested by gallery owner Kitty Wong, that this resonance leapt out as a joyously uniting theme. Black Line Boogie captures their shared feeling of play, a black-line frenzy. The collected works bounce off and respond to each other in a fanciful kind of dance.
For Mary van de Wiel, black line takes center stage in all her work. As designer thinker, storyteller and artist, she has worn many hats but it all comes from the same creative pipeline. She sees grit, drama and true color in 100% black & white. Maybe that’s what living in Brooklyn does to a girl?! (It’s been 20 years since she’s last worn color.)
In Black Line Boogie, she explores creativity, re-invention and the freedom to draw ourselves into new stories and feelings – and a new way of being.
Always the incurable doodler, she put aside her sketch books three years ago and began to scale her work big, bold and impulsive. It started with black house paint on a wall in Mexico, exploded floor to ceiling in Manhattan and then trailed over every Sydney opportunity. From murals to gallery windows to three-legged stools, fabric, chairs — wherever there’s an chance to play. This is van de Wiel’s first exhibition in Sydney.
Her exuberance as a design thinker was well-known in Australia before she moved her branding business to New York in 2000. She now paints her way back and forth across the Pacific.
Jan Howlin came to black line some years ago when she began exploring it as a means of dramatizing and accentuating the volume and curvature of her hand-built functional ceramic forms. By staining clay black and sandwiching it together with a plain clay body she created a material that contained line-work as an inherent element, and she enjoyed the graphic simplicity and unpredictability that resulted. Her more recent sculptural work also relies on black line to accentuate form and volume, but it is achieved through different means. This finer, looser line-work creates a vitrified finish and a textured surface that traps glaze or pigments. At the same time it adds vigour to the figures she creates and life to the ideas behind them.
In bringing the work of van de Wiel and Howlin together, Black Line Boogie presents a dynamic, hand-drawn, hand-made environment, a buzzing fusion of black and white that brims with energy and delight.
THE BACK STORY I’ve been an incurable doodler all my life. It was only three years ago when I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico that I first felt compelled to climb a ladder and start painting larger than life – as in: floor to ceiling. A can of black house paint and a roll of gigantic paper taped to the wall was all I needed. You should have seen me. I sighed in happiness.
Fast forward to landing in Sydney 20 months ago: Working, running NY Brand Labs, speaking and tutoring at The University of Sydney Business School/Masters Program, and painting. I found a studio in Paddington in December 2014. Over the moon.
It was earlier this year that I met Kitty Wong, owner of Saint Cloche Gallery – thanks to interior designer Jane Stark. Kitty had already seen my work here on blacklinecrazy.com and asked where I’d exhibited before? I gasped. I’d never been asked that question.
FYI Kitty is passionate about many things and particularly, exhibiting an eclectic mix of paintings and ceramics. So I’m thrilled to be collaborating with my longtime friend, writer and ceramist Jan Howlin. We’re showing our work together, Black Line Boogie, and it celebrates the power of black line and mark making.
It’s my first show (not for Jan who has exhibited in Sydney before), and it’s been an incredible adventure. (Understatement.) I feel grateful that I’ve had the help, insights, support and incredible encouragement from so many friends here. Deep bow.
Black Line Boogie is up from August 11 – September 1. So drop by and say hello. Better still, show up in black and white, and be part of the show! Take a look at Jan’s amazing work here janhowlin-ceramics.com. I post daily on instagram.com/maryvandewiel or you can read my doodler-to-blacklinecrazy-artist story here on the about page @ blacklinecrazy.com
Thursday July 23, 2015 | North Sydney
How to Stand Out in the New Digital Era?
Clue: Build an Irresistible Brand.
(It’s your best competitive advantage.)
WHAT’S THE NY BRAND LAB? (i) A roll-up-your-sleeves workshop with award-winning creative brander, designer thinker & educator Mary van de Wiel; (ii) A unique opportunity for women in business to focus on re-imagining their brand so it’s more authentic and irresistible – and communicates that you are who you say you are. FYI Your customers will feel the difference… and that’s the moment they know they want to work with you or buy from you. Ka Ching!
DESIGNED OR WOMEN IN BUSINESS Small business owners, change makers, creatives, entrepreneurs, visionary marketers, start ups, and artists: All looking to find their spot on the 21C new brand landscape.
WHEN Thursday, 23 July 2015 (Choose the Morning or the full day)
WHERE Village Co-Working, Level 3, 1 James Place, North Sydney 2060
WHY NOW? A new paradigm shift is inviting us to bring a different level of energy back to the table. What’s more, with increasing uncertainty in our hyper-connected world, the art of creating an engaging & irresistible business brand – with a high emotional quotient and a reputation to go along with it – has never been more critical. It’s the best strategy for standing out in this hyper-connected marketplace.
NO 1 BENEFIT Building your brand in the New Digital Era is your best competitive advantage. Because keeping customers at arm’s length or keeping a low profile is no longer an option. When you start paying attention to building your brand in a more mindful way, your customers will feel the difference. That’s when wallets fly open!
LET’S FACE IT Every business leader and organisation has brand issues. If they’re serious enough, they’re going to get in the way of your business success and shoot you in the foot.
FACILITATOR, CREATIVE STRATEGIST & ARTIST Mary van de Wiel (Van) calls that a serious issue. After all, this is 21C Business Unusual. The world has never been as transparent or connected 24/7. Everyone’s talking about the new Digital Era. Some call it the Era of Engagement. Because if you want to stand out and cut through the noise, you need to join the conversation.
NOTE: Google recently announced they’re only rewarding and ranking organisations with relevant brands and irresistible stories to tell. It’s the key to wining hearts, inspiring minds and capturing the imagination of customers.
So how’s your brand looking?
My life can be divided into two phases: before and after signing up atThe NY Brand Lab. Van helped me gain clarity around my business and my brand that I hadn’t dreamed possible. –– MEGAN KENT CEO Megan Kent Branding Group / New York, NY
WHAT WILL I WALK AWAY WITH? Like a caffeine jolt, this roll-up-your-sleeves workshop will not only transform your mindset, it will boost your confidence and reinforce that you are who you say you are. We’ll dig deep, and you’ll walk away with a fresh, insightful set of strategies, tools and ideas. Take a look:
1) Brand Influence & Reputation You’ll learn how to manage your reputation so you stand out, and show up like you mean it. We’ll look at neuroscience trends, what makes your customer’s brain tick. (This is about real relationship building.)
2) Creativity & Storytelling: You’ll start to re-think your own messaging so it has exactly the right tone and voice. This is about bringing a new kind of energy to your story. (You’ll never keep your audience at arm’s length again.)
3) Emotional Intelligence: You’ll focus on raising the Emotional Intelligence (EQ) of your brand. It takes a willingness to connect in a more transparent and authentic way – online and offline – and it creates more trust. (PS Your customers will be your fans forever.)
4) Meaning & Purpose: Why do you do what you do? We’ll focus on bringing more meaning and purpose to your business. We’ll turn the lens inward on your values, emotions, goals so your messaging will resonate more with your customers.
5) Brand Behavior You’ll monitor the kind of messaging your brand is communicating 24/7 online and offline. FYI Your brand is sending out subliminal messages whether you know it or not. Being mindful is key.
Special Bonus: You’ll get the chance to sit on the ‘hot seat’ for Van’s signature Brand Audit (a mini-10 minute version) with your home page beamed up: That’s when Van evaluates your site and, with a laser-sharp focus, spots, identifies & interprets the invisible clues embedded in your brand (that are shooting you in the foot) – and then, on the spot, changes them into more irresistible, heart-felt messaging.
Van can switch from multi-national to entrepreneur mindsets in a flash – across sectors, channels and audiences but with a brand’s own story running fast through each. She has the instinct of a true marketer that shapes every story right – and a manner built on trust and rapport to bring it all together. I think any brand will be the better for meeting her. – NICK STRAVS, EVP International Consulting / Weber Shandwick Switzerland
Date: Thursday, 23 July, 2015
Where: Village Co-Working, Level 3, 1 James Place, North Sydney 2060
Time: Two options: Sign up for the full day or choose just the morning session.
a) Morning Session | 9:30am-1:00pm (Limited to 20)
b) VIP Afternoon Session | 2pm-5pm (Limited to six)
(If you’re interested in the second session, the morning session is a prerequisite.)
Lunch: 1:00-2pm (not included). Café downstairs.
All-Day Parking: Right next door at James Place. Or a 10-minute walk from North Sydney train station.
In full disclosure: It takes a curiosity, courage and a willingness to rethink your brand, and your story for more transparency and authenticity across all platforms. (Be prepared!)
SIGN UP | CHOOSE THE FULL DAY OR THE MORNING SESSION
• Morning Session 9:30am-1:00pm | Investment: $397
This is an intense 3.5 hour Brand Lab where we’ll work on uncovering what really makes your business tick, why you do what you do, carefully look at your values, your mindset and your willingness to be more transparent. We’ll then work on shaping your brand story so it resonates and hits home with your customers. This is about bringing more clarity, authenticity and meaning across your entire brand messaging so it resonates with your customers. PS They will feel the difference.
An exhilarating session with exercises and transformational insights around you, your business and your brand. Walk away with a new set of invigorating tools and strategies you can put into place when you get back to the office. Guaranteed. (And a spring in your step!)
• VIP 1:1 Afternoon Session 2:00-5:00pm (Only 6 people.) Investment: $497
Aligning all the elements of your brand is critical to standing out and showing up in today’s competitive marketplace. After the morning session, you’ll be better informed when it comes to positioning yourself and telling your story more authentically for the 21C new brand landscape.
In this more intimate setting, we’ll pull back the layers so you get 1:1 attention, creative ideas and insights when it comes refining, and then embedding your core messaging across your entire brand and site – as well as coaxing out your own unique voice across the social media platforms that matter to you. Van will carefully audit each business, and make sure your message is engaging and communicates you are who you say you are.
TWO CHOICES | SIGN UP BELOW July 23, 2015 | North Sydney Australia
Option One: Morning Session 9:30-1:00pm
Option Two: VIP Afternoon Session 2:00-5:00pm
FYI: 21C DIGITAL AGE BRANDS
- Your brand is just a feeling. It’s what people say/feel about after you leave the room. FYI It’s not your logo, colour palette or the way you walk your talk
- Emotional intelligence, self-awareness, business acumen and vision are today’s meta skills for leadership. Courage and the willingness to be transparent always lands a higher score with your customers.
- All good brands communicate powerful messaging to the world 24/7. It’s never been more important to be mindful around your brand behavior. Your brand requires mindfulness and attention.
- We live in a customer-centric world. All good brands need more clarity in order to make more meaningful connections that matter to people. This is about raising the connection quotient so your messaging resonates deeply.
- Values shape and define your organisation. When everyone can champion a set of real, human values (owning, living and breathing them), your brand story is much more compelling. Your customers will feel the difference.
About Mary van de Wiel | Creative Captain at Zing Your Brand & Co.
A Dutch sea captain’s daughter, Mary van de Wiel learned how to scope out the horizon and interpret the invisible clues – no matter what the country, culture or language. It seemed the best way to sense one’s place and identity in the world and give it meaning.
No wonder she’s been dubbed ‘business psychologist’ in the brand intelligence space. For the last 30 years, she’s successfully been interpreting the invisible clues for CEOs, visionary business leaders & change agents – putting their brands on the global map.
As founder/CEO and Creative Captain of ZingYourBrand.com, Van is devoted to transformational branding and storytelling. She consults, speaks at conferences, leads her signature NY Brand Lab workshops around the USA, Mexico and Australia, hosts a weekly radio show on why some brands nail it (currently on hiatus) and tutors & lectures Masters students at The University of Sydney Business School.
She built her award-winning branding agency business on this principle: Helping people recognize who they are – so others can. It’s the secret to mindful leadership. With offices in New York and Sydney, Van initiated the agency’s global start-up division for Fortune 500 clients and led launch campaigns for the Macau International Airport in China, Who Weekly in Australia (first time Time Inc. published its title offshore) and The National Constitution Center in the USA.
Other clients include ABC Innovation, AMP, Viacom, Conde Nast USA, Comcast Cable, Sony, Time Warner, Zurich Int., Sydney Opera House, News Corp., Time-Warner, Seven Network & The Museum of Modern Art, N.Y.
Van has been featured in Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Reuters, Amex Business Forum, The Telegraph (UK), Investor’s Business Daily, The Australian Financial Review and more.
Passionate about the worlds where neuroscience, creativity and innovation intersect, she’s currently developing online training programs for the 21C New Brand Landscape. When she’s not working on It’s Not Enough to Be Brilliant: 10 Dares to Branding, you’ll find her painting her way back and forth across the Pacific. Check out BlackLineCrazy.com or her daily updates on instagram.com/maryvandewiel
Sign up now! If you have any questions, get in touch with me: email@example.com.
Look forward to seeing you at the NY Brand Lab on 23 July!
E firstname.lastname@example.org | linkedin.com/in/maryvandewiel |
1. This is Business Unusual. We’re living in a 20C Global Village If you have a presence online, don’t forget for a second that the world isn’t checking you out 24/7. Whether you know it or not. Creating an irresistible brand message means you’re going to have to show up and speak directly to the big wide world out there — in your voice, in your language so people can hear you. They need to sense that you ‘are who you say you are.’ So what’s the tone and language around your brand?
2. Storytelling is the Currency of our Time It’s time to re-imagine and reframe your brand story and message for your audience in a new, provocative way. Connect the dots and defining moments in your life, your business, and what led you to the very spot you are standing in, right now. Because your defining moments and stories around them are what’s going to connect emotionally with other people. That’s irresistible. Story resonates deeply with people. Don’t keep them at arm’s length. They’re longing to connect.
3. Curiosity and Willingness There’s nothing quite like the desire to be transported to new places – and see the future. It’s something we all crave. So if your business can deliver people to another sense of place or discovery — make sure that’s embedded in your messaging. That’s irresistible, for sure. Allow your clients to sense and pick up on this desire. Are you paying attention? Being curious and having a sense of wonder in your messaging is magic. PS Complacency is a killer.
4. Peripheral Vision The ability to see outside the lines of sight is critical in your business. It helps to shift your perspective, see the other person’s point of view. It often brings compassion, a heightened sensitivity and the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Bring your own kind of empathy and understanding to your brand messaging. It goes a long way in building trust and meaningful relationships in your business. Are you understanding what other people’s issues are and how you can make a difference? Can’t do business without trust. If you’re trustworthy, people will feel it and head in your direction. That’s irresistible.
5. Desire to Big, Bold and Provocative In this over-saturated marketplace, one of the best ways to soar above your competition is by creating your own signature brand message that will make you stand out. OK Focus on what makes you truly different. Then translate that over into your business. So how brave and fearless are you when it comes to showing up bigger and bolder? This is not the time to be small. PS If you can brand with heart, and with intention, you’re going to be miles ahead of your competition.
6. Take on the Role of Brand Guardian You are the Guardian of your brand. It’s a role to be taken seriously. You’d be amazed at the number of business owners who are not paying attention to their brand. Brands like to be nurtured need your attention. (A bit like puppies. Seriously.) Your brand is never done, so to speak. It needs to change, grow and evolve just like everything else in your business. So what kind of Brand Guardian are you? Because if you nurture your brand, your customers will tell, and feel the difference. Guaranteed.
7. Master of Serious Play Believe it or not, brands have a tendency to want to play, live out loud and have a bit of fun along the way! That’s irresistible. It’s the one characteristic that is hugely attractive to clients, and it will certainly keep them paying attention… Of course, it’s about keeping a fine balance between being professional and playful so make sure you can walk that tightrope with grace. So if you’re not having fun with your brand, go out and start addressing this issue immediately. It will pay off, I promise.
OK Your turn! I’d love to hear your best-kept secrets about how you’re creating the most irresistible brand messaging out there!
@2015 Mary van de Wiel | CEO Creative Captain Zing Your Brand & Co.
What is Personal Branding?
Personal Branding in today’s world is not an option. According to Wikipedia, Personal Branding
is defined as “the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands”. If you think your university education alone will get you the job you want, it is time to think again. With an average of 118 people applying for every job, how will you stand out? Your personal brand is your best competitive strategy to stand out and cut through in an over-saturated job market. By being aware of the eight elements that make up your personal brand, you can focus on developing each of them so you can set yourself apart and get the job you want.
8 elements of Personal Branding
- Appearance: This is how you come across non-verbally and takes into account things like your body language, your handshake, how you dress and groom yourself, and also the energy you give off. Present yourself at your best and “think positive” to leave a lasting impression.
- Qualifications: This is your education and the skills that help you to do your job. Having a good education does help, so ensure that you appropriately display your education and your skills on your CV and on your social network presence.
- Achievements: How have you made an impact in the world thus far? What projects were you successful in delivering? Have you won any awards? Completing a degree from a major university will require you to complete assessments and projects. If you are just starting out, focus on what you achieved while at university, and as your career builds, keep notes of achievements so you can use them in future conversations for new roles.
- Passion: What do you love doing? How does it reflect in your work? Is it obvious to others? Employers today are looking to employ team members who have a positive attitude, and if you are doing something you are passionate about, that positive attitude will just flow from you. Learn what you are passionate about and be able to talk about it.
- Value: How do you describe the value you will bring to the company and what will the return be to the company if they employ you? Today’s jobs require more than compliance with the minimum requirements. Top employers want to know what you can do for them, so think about how you deliver value and be prepared to talk about it.
- Reputation: How do others view you? What would your university professor and classmates say about you? What does your LinkedIn profile display? Does it display recommendations from others? When you feel like you have done a great job on a project, ask your teammates and supervisor or professor for a recommendation on LinkedIn so that you can start building a positive social media reputation that will work for you as your career grows.
- Personality: This is a mix of your values, hopes, dreams, identity, behaviour, goals and desires. Are you warm to new people? Do you make an effort to try and connect with new people? In the marketplace today, more companies are looking for transparency and authenticity with their employees, so start sharing your personality with others. This may seem difficult or awkward at first, but once you start, you will see others warm to you and it will become more natural.
- Differentiator: We are all unique in some way. What makes you unique? Research from the Gallup Research Methodology 2013 states, “68% of people won’t make a decision to hire you…because they can’t see the difference between you and the other guy.” Spend some time thinking about this. Once you figure it out, make it easy for others to see how you are unique.
For many of us, our culture has influenced our perception and taught us that we should not stick out and that we should conform. Unfortunately, this teaching works against developing your Personal Brand and will work against you in gaining your dream job. Now is the time to break free of these cultural barriers and get what you want. Think about the eight elements listed above and develop your Personal Brand. Once you know this information, be sure to update your social media pages to reflect your Personal Brand so that when a potential employer searches the Internet for your name (and they will) you are reflected exactly how you want.
Have you ever thought about your Personal Brand? What will you do first to build your Personal Brand? To see the blog online: http://the-big-opportunity.blogspot.com.au/
Scott Brunelle is a Sales and Marketing Management professional and recently completed his Master of Commerce (Marketing) at the University of Sydney Business School. In the capstone unit, Succeeding in Business (BUSS6000), Dr. Helen Parkerorganised a guest lecture from Mary van de Wiel on “How to Create a Leadership Brand for the 21C”. The information in this blog is based on the content from this lecture.