Personal Brand Marketing – Brand Buzz 101

I understand the importance of visibility. As a small business owner, being "known" can be the difference between a steady flow of revenue or closing your doors. Yet, being visible is not enough. Being remembered is most important and means you occupy some prime real estate in the mind of someone. Garnering "share of mind" means that you somewhere along the way that they sampled your character and competency and you became memorable.

Marketing, by definition, is creating an exchange environment. For an individual, that could mean breaking a referral, speaking positively on your behalf, a promotion or an introduction. Branding, by definition, is an emotion or image tied to a product. YOU are the product. Even in businesses, people are the brand and define the company, more than any mission mission statement hanging in the lobby. So, how does an individual create "buzz" for their brand for visibility and more importantly to be remembered so that they can develop credibility?

1. Know what makes you unique.

Whether you're job hunting or wanting a position on board of director's, you need to confidently know what value you bring to the table.

2. Get really good at communicating what makes you valuable.

Ninety-three percent of communication is tone and body language. Spend time on the words so that what you say and how you communicate are congruent with your value. Yet, know that communication includes your image, the way you present yourself, your workspace, your phone skills and even your lunch meeting etiquette. They must all be congruent with what makes you valuable. Any discrepancies will jeopardize your credibility and could produce negative word of mouth which is a problem that I will address in future articles.

3. Manage that communication.

If you're creating "buzz" around your brand, it will require you to proactively manage the communication. For example, if you're new to a company or a position you will need to build a credibility wall. Yes, a physical wall if possible. It showcases every plaque, certificate, service honor, licensing, certification and degree you've received. This wall is your visual third party testimonial on the character and competency of your brand. Since that wall can not travel with you, make sure that anytime you're honored for volunteer service or recognized for a contribution that a copy of the "thank you" letter, note or card be placed into you personnel file.

Even if you're on your own, these "proof of credibility" tools will take you far. As the vice president of a business concern in college, I invited speakers to speak to our fraternity for professional development. I asked each of them to write a letter for me about their experience working with me so that I could include that in my personal portfolio. Many of these speakers went on to become regional directors, chief operation officers, chief financial officers, company presidents and further that my portfolio has become quite valuable. Actively "buzz" your brand! Doing that will develop credibility; credibility will lead to influence; and influence with lead to leadership.

Business Coaching: Why Partnering With a Coach Makes Sense Now

As an entrepreneur, you want a lot: to grow your business in a way that feels authentic, to serve the right customers with the right products, to create a positive impact, while at the same time enjoying a meaningful and fulfilling life outside of your business. This can often feel quite daunting. You may find that you are spending countless hours doing, doing, doing without getting the results that you want and deserve. Business coaching is a business growth tool that is well worth your consideration. Let’s take a look at what it is and why it works.

A coach starts by getting to know and understand both you and your business. He or she will help you be very clear in defining what success looks like from your vantage point and then work with you to develop the vision, strategies, projects, goals, and timelines that-assuming you take action-will lead you to that success.

Business coaching is neither therapy nor pure consulting. The therapy model assumes that someone is broken and needs to be “fixed,” while a consultant may hand you a set of instructions that any generic business owner might follow. Coaching on the other hand is very personal and is relationship-based. Your coach will likely use a blend of encouragement, persuasion, and inspiration to keep you in action while you begin creating the results that you want.

Coaching works well when you are open to partnering with someone trained in helping business owners be their best. Professional coaches are particularly skilled in listening, strategizing, supporting, and keeping you on track with your tasks, projects, goals, vision, and dreams. And they do this without judgment of you and (importantly) without having a personal stake in the outcome. In this sense, your coach does what a spouse, business partner, or best friend can often have trouble doing: he or she is a completely objective third party who is 100% on your side.

The title of this article suggests that business coaching makes sense “now.” What do we mean by that? As a business coach, I naturally am predisposed to advocating coaching as a practical and effective tool under most circumstances. And yet, there is something happening right now in the autumn of 2010 that is in my opinion making coaching an even more compelling choice. Over the past month, I have been noticing that we are in a time of what I call congruent manifestation. That is simply a fancy way of saying that a lot of my coaching clients (and other people I know) are hearing “yes” over and over again. We seem to collectively be in a period of time during which it is easier to create the success that is possible when we are clear about what we want and take action aligned with that desire. From media deals to new jobs, to graduate school acceptance, to artists being awarded public grants, I am seeing people consistently hearing a big, resonant “yes!” to those outcomes that they are longing for and working towards.

So how about it? Are you ready to finally create the success that even now is out there waiting for you? It is my deep desire–whether you take advantage of what business coaching has to offer or not-that you will create a business and a life of deep fulfillment, service, and joy.

Internet Marketing Vs Traditional Marketing – Can I Abandon Traditional Marketing?

This is a common question raised by novices in Internet marketing. Actually, it reflects a misunderstanding of the whole concept of Internet marketing. Because of its reliably novel stage, there is a mystique attached to the concept by newcomers and so the question: If I go for Internet marketing, should I abandon traditional marketing (as if one should now exclude the other)?

My simple answer is – why would you? Internet marketing and traditional marketing should complement each other. The Internet simply allows you to extend your reach beyond the current confines of your traditional marketing system such that areas in the world that were previously beyond your reach can now be accessed through the Internet.

To better appreciate that, it would be helpful to know what Internet marketing actually is. In a nutshell, it means putting up a website where you can display the product or service you are selling, and then encouraging people to drop by your site so that you can have buyers or customers. Everything else you will encounter in Internet marketing, including what may initially appear to you as highfalutin terms – like search engine optimization, search engine submission, reciprocal linking, keyword research – are nothing more than part of Internet marketing strategies to bring people to your website so that you will have the chance of making a sale. Without people finding out your website, you will never succeed in Internet marketing.

To better visualize this, consider the example of putting up a store in the physical world. Your store is located in a vast empty prairie. How are you ever make any sale if there are no people around? No matter how good your products or services are, if you have no passers by, if people can not locate you, you're finished. You have a choice of absolutely shutting down the store – or start an aggressive marketing campaign so that people will get to know about the existence of your store. And if you are successful in enticing them, people may start flocking to you to patronize your merchandise. Your strategies may occasionally include distributing leaflets announcing your store, putting up giant air balloons where from a distance, people will spot you, advertising on mass media, an so on.

The same thing happens to a business website – your virtual store in the Internet. Much like that solitary store in the prairie, all business websites initially exist in a much much vaster cyberspace prairie where no one will find you unless you now adopt and implement the well known Internet marketing strategies. But here's the exciting part – the analogy between the physical store and the business website (your Internet store) ends when it comes to their probable reach for potential customers. In that example of a physical store, how far can you reach out physically to attract customers? Realistically, even with a massive advertising campaign, you will most likely attract only people who are living within your immediate locality. Maybe a radius of fifty kilometers is good enough. Beyond that distance, people will find it impractical to still go to your store to buy anything. But not so in the Internet marketing model. You can be in the middle of the Sahara but your website can be found and access by anyone all over the world where you have Internet connection and where people will need your product or service! That's how massive you can get in Internet marketing!

Now, going back to the question – should you then abandon traditional marketing? That question sounds to me like coming from someone who's using a cellphone for the first time and who, in excitement about the power of the new gadget requests – will I now abandon face to face encounters and just talk with everyone through my cellphone? Of course not! Use your cellphone to get in touch with people who are not physically in your vicinity. But for people who are around you, there is nothing wrong with talking with them directly in person. In fact, that might even be preferred.

Instead of abandoning one system in favor of another, I suggest you combine Internet marketing with your traditional marketing skills. You could build an awesome marketing network that way!