Archive for the ‘Popular’ Category

The Best-Kept Secret to a Killer Brand Story

Let’s face it, story is all around us. Since the cavemen shared stories around the campfire to reading the news on our cell screens, it’s been at the heart of every transaction. It defines who we are, and it’s the way we connect with each other. It can be absolutely profoundly powerful – and transporting – because it takes us to another place. Remember when you last pleaded, in that little voice, ‘tell me another story, please?”

Telling your personal brand story in the most fascinating way is going to make your brand stand out in this marketplace. What’s more, it’ll captivate and transform your world, your audience or your consumers.

Just take a look at what’s happening across the social media platforms. What exactly are 500 million people doing on Facebook? Well, mostly they’re sharing their stories in words and pictures. They’re craving that emotional and powerful hit that comes through telling a story. It’s the ultimate form of creative expression which is an innate desire, and characteristic of humans, by the way. So if you’re haven’t been crafting your own killer personal brand story, now is a good time to start.

Technology is making sharing stories more fun and more frictionless. Social innovator Rachel Botsman and co-author of the influential book What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, talked at TEDx SYDNEY about the new ‘trust mechanics’ online, and explored how technology is actually enabling trust between strangers in the new peer-to-peer social revolution. (You can hear her talk at TEDx Sydney, Australia May 2101: A Case for Collaborative Consumption http://bit.ly/dXkhYA)

So how do you start shaping your brand story so it has a distinctive and emotional resonance, shows you to be a real and trustworthy human being, and hits home with your audience? Here’s the secret: You start digging deep:

Identify the defining moments in your life
Look at the trajectory of your life and/or career and identify which are the defining moments for you. Why do they stand out? What happened exactly, and why are they so significant to you? Let your memory take you right back there and probe a little more. The idea here is to pick one of your defining moments and then weave it right into the fabric of your brand story.

Here’s one of my favorites. It’s a brilliant brand story: Jeff Nussbaum is a partner at one of the country’s most prominent strategic speechwriting firms, West Wing Writers, based in Washington, D.C. If you go to the About page on their site www.westwingwriters.com. and click on Jeff Nussbaum, you’ll see how Jeff has shaped his story by capturing one defining (and traumatic) moment in his life:

Jeff Nussbaum | Partner
The first speech Jeff Nussbaum wrote was to defend himself against suspension from high school. It was unsuccessful. Since that time, Jeff has written speeches, op-eds, and promotional materials for heads of state, corporate executives, foundations, professional athletes, actors, and trade associations.

Get the idea? I can only assume Jeff’s defining moment was quite a dramatic experience. But see how he has turned it around, and crafted a highly idiosyncratic, captivating and moving personal story?

FYI: Storytelling is critical to your personal brand and business for a couple of reasons:
• An authentic personal brand story makes you totally memorable (in the best way possible)
• It differentiates you as desirable (what could be better?)
It brings your brand to life (nothing worse than a bland brand so this is all good news)
• It gives you a distinct competitive advantage (FYI not many people out there can tell a good brand story)
• Your audience becomes hugely responsive (absolutely)
• It lands an unforgettable spot in the psyche of your audience (what more can I say?)

Warning: Our brains are constantly on alert, scanning the horizon for insincere messages. Just write your story with absolute sincerity. Consumers out there are savvy. They can smell a fake story a mile away. Be exactly who you say you are. Then, watch heads turn!

So have you identified one of your most remarkable defining moments yet?

This was published on January 30th, 2011 at 5:30 am on Dan Schawbel’s award-winning Personal Branding Blog by weekly contributor Mary van de Wiel.

What’s your Future Brand? (Ask your Future Self)

To get a glimpse into your Future Brand, here are three questions, from a Brand Therapist’s point of view, to get you started:

1. How many of you wish you had a magic wand right now? Hands up?
2. How many of you wish you could predict your future? Find out exactly what’s ahead for you in 2011? Hands Up?
3. How many of you are impatient, unsure and irritable that the direction you think you’re supposed to be following is just not making itself clear – enough? Hands up?

Yes, yes and, yes? Keep reading.

No? I’d recommend sticking around anyhow. A good magic fairy with a decent wand is hard to come by these days. Instead, what you’re getting here is a Brand Therapist stepping up to the plate recommending one idea that works when it comes to working out what your Future Brand looks like.

Clue: Imagine your Future Self has already done everything that you want to be doing (as it relates to your brand and your business.) Your Future Self can inform you on all things. Listen to him/her. Because they’ll suggest ideas, directions, things to do. They’ll even give you very informed clues regarding what your Future Brand is going to look like. It’s a matter of getting into the right space and asking. (Feeling optimistic?!)
Imagine this step-by-step scenario:

BRAND THERAPIST: OK. This is really about seeing the future of your personal brand or your business thrlugh a different kind of lens. (Lens is the critical word, here.) Even thlugh, right now, I know some of you are asking yourself, “What in the hell is she talking about?”

YOU: Yup…. You got that right.

BRAND THERAPIST: Well, this could be a new idea for some of you. Not so, for others.

YOU: Er …(detect hesitant tone?…)

BRAND THERAPIST: You’ve been told before to trust your intuition. Listen to your gut, yes? Are you are doing that?

YOU: Hmmm…(detect bewildered tone?…)

BRAND THERAPIST: If you want to know the future of your personal brand or business brand in 2011 and you’re not having much luck chasing the magic fairy, you need to spend a bit of extra time and energy here. Willing to do that?

YOU: Need to know more, please…(irritation creeping in…)

BRAND THERAPIST: No problemas. This is quite simple. If you can talk to your Future Self, you’ll get the kinds of answers you’ve been looking for. Willing to try this?

Select a spot in your home, office, study or a place that resonates with you. It has to feel special. Either it gets the sun, or there’s a great view, or it has some other kind of meaning for you. (Found the spot yet?)

YOU: Yup (…irritation starting to seep in, again…)

BRAND THERAPIST: Good. Now create an imaginary circle on that special spot you’ve selected. ‘See yourself’ actually stepping into the circle. Got that?

YOU: Er…the dog has a round bed – a kind of mat. Can I step on that?

BRAND THERAPIST: Nope. (sigh.) Keep thinking of the imaginary circle on your bare floorboards or carpet. PS Step into this circle with bare feet. (Say, three to four feet diameter.) Can you do that?

YOU: Can do.

BRAND THERAPIST: Great. So you’re in the circle. Despite the lighthearted tone here, I’m serious, kiddo. Because this is the circle and space from which you can access and talk to your Future Self.

YOU: What was that, again? (questioning tone…)

BRAND THERAPIST: To recap: We’re exploring here how to determine your Future Brand. I’m suggesting you start a conversation with your Future Self. Are we on the same track?

YOU: You bet…

BRAND THERAPIST: Excellent. Now here’s what happens next.

1. Remember this is your special circle where you are going to meet your Future Self.
2. It’s a special space where you have 1:1 access to your Future Self.
3. Enter this circle (bare feet) with a quiet mind. Be in a meditative state/frame of mind.
4. Get centered. Quieten down.
5. You’re going to start a conversation now with your Future Self. Bring one question that you would like an answer. Keep it simple for starters. (Don’t want to overwhelm.)
6. Be relaxed, informal. How about staring with “hi.” Then, stop. Breathe. Take this seriously because your Future Self has all the answers.
7. Ask your question. Doesn’t have to be out loud, of course. Then be quiet.
8. Listen again. Then listen some more. Getting some interesting new ideas?

YOU: Yeah…WOW…

FYI My special colleague, mentor and award-winning producer in LA shared this with me. She uses it. I use it. Many others use it. Anything you want to know about your Future Self and Future Brand is available to you 24/7. Your Future Self will share mindful, remarkable and amazing insights. All you have to do? Just ask.

Author: Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of ZingYourBrand.com. She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter.

This post was published on Dan Schawbel’s award-winning blog on January 16th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

How to Build a Potent Brand? (Six Clues)

It’s just not enough to be brilliant. People must know and remember that you are. Let’s face it, walking around feeling complacent and entitled because you know you’re brilliant is not a viable strategy, right?  So if you want to be known, remembered and recognized, it’s critical you build a brand that not only positions you as brilliant – but as irresistible and indispensable, too. How do you do that? You create a potent brand.

Potency defined OK. Let’s start with a definition of potency here just to get us all on the same page. The word ‘potent’ means (i) power; authority, (ii) efficacy; effectiveness; strength; and (iii) the capacity to be, become, or develop; one’s potentiality; and  (iv) a person or thing exerting power or influence.

In other words, the more potent your brand, the more powerful, authoritative, effective, strong and influential you are. The best part? A potent brand makes it easier for your world, so to speak, find you, get to know you and then, want to engage with you (work with you, employ you, salute you, etc.) You get the idea.

So how do you start building a potent brand? The world is moving at a staggeringly fast pace. It’s never been more important to get a grip on your brand’s core values, what it stands for and why it’s meaningful.

It starts with asking questions. Take a look at the six clues below plus questions. See how willing you are to give your brand a leg up, as they say. It’s likely to turbo charge your thinking. It’ll then, hopefully get you moving forward  – and building a brand with potency.

Be Chief Influential Officer of your Brand

• Are you poised to become the Go-To-Resource within your area of expertise Y/N?

• How willing are you when it comes to getting out of your comfort zone Y/N?

• Are you ready to stake out your territory in a more authoritative way Y/N?

• Is your Brand Pulse showing strong, pumping and vital signs? (the last time you checked?) Y/N?

• Would you describe your brand as robust and hardy Y/N?

• Is the world around you noticing you’re becoming a center of influence Y/N?

2º Set the Right Tone for your Brand

• Are you clear about the intention behind your brand Y/N?

• Are you really communicating you are who you say you are Y/N?

• Is your brand’s voice clear, authentic and aligned Y/N?

• Are you regularly minding your brand’s behavior Y/N?

• Is your brand’s attitude welcoming, empathetic and transparent Y/N?

3º Start Seeing your Brand as your Platform

• How committed  are you to showing up in your brand Y/N?

• Would you give yourself a high score when it comes to inspiring your world Y/N?

• Do you actually think about changing the world Y/N?

• Are you at ease speaking confidently from your brand platform Y/N?

4º Pay Close Attention to your Brand’s Emotional IQ

• Would you say your brand lands a high score when it comes to empathy Y/N?

• Are you aware the world around you has feelings about you and your brand Y/N?

• Do you think you might be keeping your world at arm’s length Y/N?

• Do you focus on actually creating strong emotional connections in your communication Y/N?

5º Focus on Being 120% Authentic

• Are you spending much effort on creating a consistent brand Y/N?

• Do you know exactly what a congruent brand looks like (let alone feels like?) Y/N?

• Would the world around you give you a high score as an authentic brand builder Y/N?

• Do you know that feeling when your brand is out of alignment Y/N?

(You always know when the wheels of your car are out of alignment, right?)

6º Face Facts: The Money’s in the Brand

Note:  Potent brands are profitable. The definition of business, after all, is about profit, purchases, commerce and volume of trade.

• So are you paying enough attention to what your world really needs the most Y/N?

• Does your brand consistently deliver what your world is craving Y/N?

• Are you willing to let your brand go to work for you Y/N?

OK. How potent is your brand feeling right now? P.S. Don’t ever forget that building your brand is always a work in progress. (That’s the good news Y/N?)

Author: Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of ZingYourBrand.com. She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter

This article was published on Dan Schawbels Personal Branding Blog on November 21st, 2010 at 1:30 pm

What’s Your Personal Brand’s Irresistibility Factor?

Let’s face it, all irresistible brands are hugely attractive and always get top marks across the board, right? More than ever, it makes sense – particularly for students right now – to get to work on enhancing their irresistibility factor in order to show up and stand out in this over-crowded and over-saturated environment. Of course, that’s exactly what creating a personal brand can do for you. It’s not only one powerful tool for getting ahead. It’s a total game changer.

In fact, you’re going to want your brand to be totally irresistible and indispensable at all times. OK. Here are five tips to rethink and reboot your personal branding efforts online and offline.

Now you’re a virtual agent
Technology has changed the 21C landscape. As a student, this is your time. Leverage the fact that the working week is no longer 9 to 5. Start by adopting a virtual mindset, and then leverage all the tools you have at your disposal. If you find yourself saying, ‘I can’t find this anywhere,’ that’s an interesting clue that might just catapult you into your own business. Entrepreneurship is contagious. Are you a nimble and agile virtual agent? Hang out with other entrepreneurial people. It’s a game changer. BE PROACTIVE. BE ENTREPRENEURIAL.

Inspire Others
Author of Start With Why, Simon Sinek (www.startwithwhy.com) calls it an irony: When you tell people what you do and how you do it, it’s not always that inspiring or helpful. But when you talk about why you do what you do, a different dynamic starts to happen. You’ll notice people lean in, listen closer and an emotional connection start to kick in. People are craving to hear your why. What’s more, it takes courage to live your why– it’s your purpose, says Sinek. Start living it now. Make your why part of your story, dialog and communication in all things, online and offline. FIND YOUR WHY. THEN DO IT YOUR WAY.

Your body language tells a story
If you know it only takes seven seconds for people to make an impression about you, consider your handshake for a moment. Would you call it firm and confident or is it a somewhat reluctant handshake? How would you rate yourself on your eye contact when meeting people? One of the country’s top communication theorists and coaches, Dr. Nick Morgan (www.publicwords.com) talks a lot about body language. What’s more, he says that in every dialog, we’re actually having two conversations at the same time: One is verbal. The other is nonverbal. If the two conversations are aligned and congruent, you project enormous trust and charisma. Think about your conversations online and offline. Remember, clarity and congruence are desirable traits particularly when you’re on the spot being interviewed. Eye contact is key, too. This is about building trust with all your communities. BE CONGRUENT. BE REAL.

Fall in love with your brain
According to brain scientist Dr. Cheri Florance (www.ebrainlabs.com), she’d like to encourage more people to fall in love with their brains. She says that ‘brain plasticity’ is a very good thing because it allows us to cope, communicate, learn (and love) at amazing levels. Dr. Florance suggests, for example, that even doing simple things can make a difference to your brain’s elasticity. Take a new route home or choose a different breakfast every day. These are good exercises for rebuilding and changing your brain’s architecture. Today, there are huge breakthroughs in the study of brain science and neuromarketing. Take a look at John Medina’s Brain Rules, (www.brainrules.net) if you want to get your head around how every brain is wired differently, and why we’re designed never to stop learning and exploring. CURIOSITY IS A GAME CHANGER.

You do have something to say

We’re living in unprecedented times where virtual conversations span the globe 24/7. This is not like chatting over the back fence anymore. If you have a blog and presence online, you are on the global map. Talk in your voice and make it credible, authentic and human, says author, speaker and social media consultant Debbie Weil (www.debbieweil.com). Weil was named by Fast Company as one of the most influential women in technology in 2010. She talks about the importance of blogging, and stresses your blog is your online digital footprint. It enables you to create the conversation you want. The key? Give your take on issues. Get personal. After all, it’s how people prefer to connect. Remember, we are all primarily wired as emotional decision makers. YOU ARE THE SOCIAL CEO OF YOUR OWN BRAND.

So how does your brand score on the irresistibility quotient?

Mary van de Wiel is a weekly contributor to Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog – This article was posted on Dan Schawbel’s blog on November 14th, 2010 at 5:30 am

Author: Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of ZingYourBrand.com. She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter

All good brands prefer setting a higher standard

As an interpreter of clues in the world of branding, I often feel like a forensic anthropologist. There’s this uncanny habit I have of scanning the new brand landscape and spotting the bright sparks that are showing up, staking out their territory and making a difference. It’s easy to spot the bright power sparks. Here’s a clue: There is absolute clarity around these brands because they are setting a higher standard, and then, living by it.

Want to try looking at your brand (and/or your favorite brands) through a forensic lens? See if you can spot the brands that are setting a higher standard, and then living by it?

Let’s play with the idea first that your brand is, in fact, an act of social engagement. You bet, your brand is having an ongoing two-way conversation with your world 24/7. It’s engaging your audience, and interacting with them across multiple platforms – all the time. (Are you exhausted yet? Yes/No?)

An act of social engagement
Think about this. If you understand your brand is an act of social engagement with your world, then that suggests you are also operating within the parameters of social responsibility. This is perhaps the most powerful and essential piece of understanding entrepreneurs and future business leaders need to grasp. After all, when you act responsibly and stand up for something meaningful, you set different patterns into motion. Important things that matter start to happen – and almost like a ripple effect – you get the ball rolling and the word travels far and wide.

Take a look at these two inspiring examples.

INSPIRING EXAMPLE #1: MBA OATH

With Wall Street’s reputation plummeting, more than half of last year’s Harvard Business School graduates decided to take a stand on greed: They volunteered to take a new student-authored MBA Oath which promises that Harvard MBAs will act responsibly, ethically and refrain from advancing their own narrow ambitions. In other words, they were collectively making a stand: greed is not good! Now, hundreds of universities around the world are following their lead, creating their own MBA Oath programs. Go to their site, you’ll be inspired, for sure. http://MBAoath.org

INSPIRING EXAMPLE #2: UNICEF TAP PROJECT

David Droga,* an award-winning, global creative visionary, innovator and brand storyteller, opened his agency in New York City in 2006 because he was inspired by the idea that it was time for agencies to do something different. The agency believes in creative ideas that live beyond media budgets, and so in 2007, he approached UNICEF with the Tap Project. The goal? To raise awareness of the global water crisis and donations for UNICEF’s water programs.

NOTE: David Droga* is Founder & Creative Chairman of Droga5, the fastest growing independent agency in America. http://droga5.com

And so the UNICEF Tap Project was born in New York City. It’s based on this simple concept. Restaurants would ask their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free, and all funds raised would support UNICEF’s efforts to bring clean and accessible water to millions of children around the world. http://TapProject.org

FYI: Next year, during World Water Week, March 20-26, 2011, the UNICEF Tap Project will once again raise awareness of the world water crisis and vital funds to help the millions of children it impacts daily. All funds raised support UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene programs, and the effort to bring clean and accessible water to millions of children around the world.

So what can you do? Think about what matters to you. What issues are you passionate about and ready, keen and willing to stand up for? Craft a powerful message or plan about the impact your brand or business is having right now – or could have – and how it will continue to act and engage responsibly in your world. Then, live by it.

OK. What’s the prognosis of your brand’s standards?

Author: Mary van de Wiel is a weekly contributor to Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog. This articles appeared on October 24th, 2010 at 1:30 pm
http://personalbrandingblog.com

Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of ZingYourBrand.com. She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter.

Are You Minding Your Brand’s Behavior?

Recent breakthroughs in brain science are giving us unprecedented information about how our brains are wired, and how they long to connect. We’re not the rational human beings we thought we were. What’s more, we’re discovering that emotions make the brain pay attention. Emotions affect people’s motivation.

The good news? Getting our heads around brain research can help us create memorable brands that will have a lasting impact on our world. So if you’re not paying attention to managing your brand’s behavior on a regular basis, there’s a good chance it will shoot you in the foot.

Looking for a super-caffeinated jolt to your thinking about your brand, and how to keep its behavior in check? Here’s an idea for you:

Brands prefer being emotional

Think about it. You’d never want your personal brand to hold your audience at arm’s length, would you? Be cold, reserved or just disinterested? It’s certainly not the kind of behavior that’s going to attract the kind of people and experiences you want – whether it’s landing a new job, moving up a rung on that career ladder or attracting new clients.

Take on the role of Chief Emotional Officer of your brand, and start by creating more meaningful emotional connections with your world out there. Be more personal, authentic and congruent in your brand communication. FYI You can be professional and personal at the same time. (They’re not mutually exclusive.)

Ask yourself: If the idea of creating deeper emotional connections feels totally foreign to you, think again. The successful brands tend to have a particular emotional energy embedded at their very core. Energy, by definition, is not static. It evolves and changes. Consider playing around with the idea that your brand has its own emotional energy, and then watch what happens.

Take Apple’s brand, for example. Who doesn’t want to Think Different? Who else could tap into the joy of having ‘1000 songs in your pocket?’ Look at the way Apple is connecting personally with each one of you. Read their ads, scan their sites. They’re talking to you, creating a relationship with you. That’s why you like and trust them, and why you keep buying from them. Their brand behavior is being managed, at every turn.

Interested to find out more about how our brains are wired?

• John Medina’s book, Brain Rules, 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School.

Neuromarketing, by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin

NOTE: This is my second post on Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/appearing on October 17th, 2010 at 1:30 pm. Check out Dan’s site, it’s packed with remarkable insights, ideas, resources and articles!

Author:Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of ZingYourBrand.com. She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter.

Attention Entrepreneurs: A Maverick Mindset is Brand Candy

We all know what an oxygen-starved brand looks like, right? You can spot one a mile away. The lights are out, so to speak. Well, if you have a hunch your personal brand might need even a bit of resuscitation today, adopt a maverick mindset. After all, in this economy, brands thrive on a sweet cocktail of eclectic thinking, a provocative point of view and the desire to stake out your territory like no other. To shift your mindset so your brand can revive itself – and flourish – I’m putting three ideas on the table to get you started:

#1: Start wearing the hat of brand maverick OK. What’s a Brand Maverick? Here’s my pocket version definition: (i) a nonconformist who prefers taking an independent stand; (ii) a master of making a mark on the world; (iii) an innovator with a desire to do things their way; (iv) an individual who challenges the status quo; (v) a risk taker who pushes harder than most.

Take Richard Branson, for example, the quintessential Brand Maverick. Overseeing his Virgin brand of 360+ companies, Branson’s willingness to pay attention to building his high-energy brand is pretty clear. What’s more, he’s having a blast along the way. (Just look at that twinkle in his eye!) Apple’s Steve Jobs is another Brand Maverick – although less flamboyant than Branson. An innovator who is changing the world, Jobs has that behind-the-scenes maverick personality. FYI Brand Mavericks are not required to parachute jump out of planes or live out loud on a regular basis. It just depends on what your particular personality craves.

Ask Yourself: Are you willing to put on the hat of Brand Maverick? It involves a conscious decision to look at your brand through a fresh, new lens. It’s about taking a more provocative approach. Ditch those traditional methods of doing things that don’t work for you anymore. What’s going to take you out of your comfort zone? Do it. Make it a conscious habit for five days. Then watch what happens.

#2: Think of your brand as a dynamic, living organism Consumer psychologist and brand strategist Mark Rodgers talks about brands as dynamic, living organisms, and the importance of creating healthy and highly-functioning brands. You need to create the conditions for growth, and that requires being nurturing, congruent, empathetic and having integrity. Paying close attention to your brand as it grows and evolves is key, and you have to evolve, too – right along with it.

Ask Yourself: When’s the last time you nurtured your brand? Are you paying particular attention to the dialog your brand is having everyday – whether it’s with your raving fans, employer or clients? Are you aware of the hidden messages that your brand is expressing on a daily basis? Brands are a bit like puppies, you know. They need constant attention, affection and pats. They also need a firm hand, too. How are you nurturing and nourishing your brand today?

#3 Have more fun with your brand I can always spot a brand with low energy levels or a dark cloud hanging over it. It’s a clue that tells me that the ‘guardian’ behind the brand is either not engaged, motivated or inspired. Let’s face it – not a great strategy. I’d say most people like to work/play with others who are open, energized, have a relaxed sense of humor, and enjoy life and living to the max. You? Let’s look at Pentagram, for example, a global brand that loves having fun. Pentagram is a 2D-3D design firm with offices in London, New York, SF, Austin and Berlin. They’ve created this microsite where you can check out what kind of personality type you are. While you’re on the site, think about the kind of fun you could be having with your brand. (My personality type? Cooper Black Gothic.) www.pentagram.com/what-type-are-you

Note: There is only four simple personality questions, and make sure you keep the sound on!

Ask Yourself: How much fun are you having with your brand right now? If you’re not, go back to the drawing board and remember what inspired you to create your brand in the first place. Probe deep. Be honest. Because the more fun you’re having, the more others will turn their heads in your direction and follow you. Be the real master of serious play. It’s magnetic and powerful stuff, and just part of the joy of wearing the hat of the Brand Maverick.

Will all Brand Mavericks please stand!

Author: Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of ZingYourBrand.com. She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter