You Are Your Brand

Get Creative NOW! 8 Great Tips to Get Your Brain in Gear

08.26.2014 Better Business
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Whether you’re busy running your business, bumping up your brand reach or trying to come up with creative content marketing ideas, like many creative types, you occasionally hit the wall. Uh oh. It’s the dreaded Brain Drain! Sometimes we all need a creative boost to brighten our day. Here are some tips to get your brain back on track and moving forward to a more productive, creative workday.

1. Game On!

Playing games isn’t just a waste of time. The right kinds of games can shift your focus, allowing your higher creative functions to take a break while you cruise through some spatial or math based games. Try games that claim to boost your brain through science, like Luminosity or Fit Brains. After a 10-minute bout of brain games, I feel refreshed and ready to begin my next project. (Heck, try one of our branding quizzes—they’re fun!)

2. Step Outside

It’s the tail end of summer, so get outside and sweat a little! Physical activity is a great way to clear your head. Even a short walk can provide a lot of benefits. If your climate or schedule doesn’t allow for running out the door whenever you feel like it, be sure to schedule time at the gym several times a week to keep your brain and your body in tip-top shape. Try yoga at home to improve physical strength and flexibility, as well as mental stamina.

3. Stay Up Late

While it may sound counter-productive, night owls boast higher IQs—and that can’t hurt creativity. You can argue whether this is a causation-does-not-equal-correlation issue or even whether it’s a chicken-or-egg scenario, but regardless, there’s something to be said for staying up late!

4. …or be the Early Bird

Another study says that early risers are happier and more productive. So which one do you choose? I know there are a lot of people out there who will never be happy before 10am (and are downright murderous before their coffee!), but I also know that morning people love the air at dawn.

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Brand Trust is a Must: Brand Relationships are HUMAN Relationships

02.25.2014 Better Branding

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” –Shakespeare

When was the last time someone broke your trust? When was the last time you broke someone else’s trust? I’m willing to bet it was a pretty big deal. Maybe your relationship recovered. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe you’re on the fence about the person now, unsure whether or not you can trust him or her again.

It’s happened to everyone; relationships (whether romantic, friendly, or otherwise) aren’t always easy. But all great relationships have one thing in common: TRUST.

Same goes for any relationship between a consumer and a brand. Trust is a must! Brand loyalty is built on trust. When your customers trust your brand, they trust your business, your products and services, and your ability to meet their unique needs. Brand trust is what gives consumers the confidence they need to advocate for your brand.

What is your brand doing to cultivate trust among your potential and current customers? Are you guilty of any of these Brand Trust Fails? How can you regain that precious customer trust and brand confidence once it has faltered?

Brand Trust Fail # 1: Bad Customer Service

“Friendship—my definition—is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don’t have trust, the friendship will crumble.” –Stieg Larsson

Just like You Are Your Brand, every person your customer touches, from your creative team members to your in-house employees is a brand representative and a brand advocate. If your team constantly fails to put on a smile and treat each customer with respect, they’re stifling your business and damaging your brand with each interaction.

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Stressed and It Shows? 3 Serious Stress Busters!

02.19.2014 Brand Presence
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This time of year can be really draining, especially with this crazy cold winter we’ve been experiencing! We’re longing for warmth, we’re too cooped up, we need more sunlight, we’re overtired, and it seems like everyone is sick.

But don’t get too down now—spring is on the way! Longer days and sunny skies are just around the corner. So let’s take a minute to talk about stress and how to deal with it. We like to say “You Are Your Brand”—so if you’re stressed and it shows, you could be negatively affecting your brand and your business.

Stress is No Joke

The top 3 causes of stress in the United States are: 1.) Job Pressure (Co-Worker Tension, Bosses, Work Overload), 2.) Money (Loss of Job, Reduced Retirement, Medical Expenses), and 3.) Health (Health Crisis, Terminal or Chronic Illness). While most people experience these types of stressors on a regular basis, I’m betting that all you entrepreneurs and business owners out there are nodding in agreement. Yes, it sounds familiar—I know.

You run a tight and tough ship every day—and, hey, sometimes the stress gets to all of us. Just because you’re running the show doesn’t mean getting stressed out from time to time is a sign of weakness. Stress is serious! Too much stress can negatively affect how you perform at your job and how you interact with your friends and family. When your working and personal relationships suffer, your brand also suffers.

It’s time to look beyond these winter blues and start developing some great habits to boost your positivity and productivity, even if that groundhog’s shadow keeps standing in the way of spring.

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What are YOU Afraid Of? Public Speaking, Perhaps?

02.11.2014 Brand Presence
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There are a lot of things in life to be afraid of, some real, some imagined. In fact, 6.3 million Americans have a diagnosed phobia. While your phobias may go undiagnosed, we all have our weak points: spiders, heights, flying—you name it! Usually, these everyday fears don’t affect your life much—but what happens when your fears get in the way of how you run your business?

The fear of public speaking is a super common fear, even among successful business owners. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 75% of people have a fear of public speaking. So all those enviable successful business owners standing up to speak at conferences and conventions? Most of them are likely just as terrified of public speaking as you may be!

Scared of the Crowd? I Feel Ya.

Last week, I gave a talk to creatives at the University of Houston. Just like any other time, I got jittery before my talk, but unlike any I have done before, I arrived late (due to flights cancelled and delayed). I had to, on the fly, take a 50 minute speech and shave it down to a 20 minute speech. But like always once I got going, the momentum of my speech and of the audience swept me away. I overcame the terrifying obstacle, the talk went well and I was pleased by the feedback I received. (Much thanks to the Theater Department, I had a wonderful time.)

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Your Confidence is Showing: Developing Your Brand Snapshot

02.04.2014 You Are Your Brand
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When introducing yourself and your services (either in person or online), are you showing your stuff or do you sound unprofessional?

For those of you still struggling to define your business and your brand, you might feel like you’re looking up from the bottom of a 1,000-step ladder. Don’t worry: as you grow your business and come into your own, you’ll naturally become more confident in not only what you do, but in the value you provide others through your products and services.

Your Confidence Matters

While your ability to communicate your value will most definitely improve over time, RIGHT NOW you need to be able to convey exactly what you do at a moment’s notice. Sounds simple, right? You might be surprised how often people slip up completely, especially when put on the spot.

Here’s the thing: You Are Your Brand. So every time you present yourself unprofessionally and/or without firm confidence, you’re directly damaging your brand. The roots of great branding start with an in-the-know, confident business owner and team dedicated to creating positive brand interactions between your company and your customers.

Your Brand Snapshot

We call it your Brand Snapshot: it’s a quick pic of your business as a whole. Here are some basic questions you need to have mastered BEFORE you speak to anyone about your business and your products and/or services:

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Nix the Negativity!

09.24.2013 Better Business
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How do you make your clients feel?

Do your clients look forward to your correspondence? Or do they dread hearing your latest sob story?

Even if your head is spinning from an already-busy workweek, or your Monday didn’t run as well as you’d hoped, when it comes to your relationships with your clients, you best keep your negative business to yourself.

TMI

I’ve noticed a serious increase in negative attitudes in the professional world over the last few years. Maybe too many people became too friendly and forgot the importance of professionalism. Perhaps it’s this new culture of over-sharing. (If you’re posting to Facebook on the hour and Instagramming your breakfast every day, it might be time to step away from the computer for a week…or a month.)

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Focusing Tips for Creative Types

12.25.2012 Better Branding
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Getting down to business with serious focus can be particularly difficult for creative people—especially during the holidays! Between fun, family, friends, (and food!), there are SO many distractions this time of year. Creatives, like me, often deal with different kinds of focusing problems. Sometimes our heads are so full of ideas we end up working […]

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Focus from the Get-go

12.18.2012 Better Business
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So now that you know how to address your distractions as they happen, let’s talk about how to start your day off focused from the get-go! There are a bunch of little tips and tricks I use to ensure that I start my day off right, and continue to stay focused on my most important […]

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Shining in the Spotlight

11.14.2011 Brand Presence
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Branding Challenge Series In both life and business, it’s important to keep moving forward – fearlessly propelling yourself towards new people and new ideas, and never settling for stagnancy.  After all, there’s no time like the present to get moving and continue advancing and experiencing the many things life has to offer. Women: In the […]

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Rather Be Pushed From An Airplane Than Speak?

09.13.2011 Brand Presence
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Guest blog post by Rochelle Togo-Figa, the Breakthrough Strategist One of the fastest ways to attract clients is to become known as the expert by speaking to groups. Yet, most people would rather be pushed from an airplane than get up in front of a group and speak. No one was ever born a natural speaker. […]

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