Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You are your brand ambassador, its personification and its biggest recruiting draw.

If you’re working through the Real You Incorporated chart, you chose three words that describe your brand essence. Those three words can then be used to write your positioning statement, which is the fourth layer of the circle. What words summarize the product or service you are bringing to the world? Write them down. This is your chance to relay emotion through words. Go for it!

Bernice Ross is CEO and founder of RealEstateCoach.com, a virtual company that provides real estate training, coaching and consulting for Realtors. She recently updated her tag line to reflect a new series of products and her new book, Real Estate Dough. The tag line is “RealEstateCoach.com—the Place You Go to Make Real Estate Dough.” What does that look like personified? It could be several things—a “For Sale Sign” with a headset on it for training—maybe even her book with a pair of legs. For Real Estate Dough, perhaps a bowl of bread dough with a dollar sign rising out of it.

Need more branding insight? Real Fact #4 in Real You Incorporated is all about bringing your passion and your brand together. Take a look!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Women need to stop competing…

And start helping each other. It’s a topic I’m very passionate about, and I discuss it in my recent interview with Carrie Runnals, author of Words-To-Mouth blog and co-host of TheDivaCast. We also talked about women as natural networkers and the gifts we bring to the business world.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Your office is where your brand lives.

When determining the creative attributes of your real brand, think color and shape. What speaks to you and your company? Move on to sounds, feel, taste and smell. Imagine these elements and how they bring your brand to life. To accomplish this task, gather magazines and fabrics, and then clip the ones that you find most appealing. And dream.

Tracey Ballas, CEO and president of School-Age NOTES in New Albany, Ohio, started her career as an elementary-school teacher, so she understands this process. When she created the work space for her company, she installed four times the number of recommended lights, using traditional lighting to give the office a more home-like feel. The walls are painted a sunny yellow and filled with original artwork created by professional artists and children. Tracey frequently makes lunch for staff meetings and birthdays, and her two dogs come to work and provide comfort and warmth. Because this is a publishing company where reading is a regular activity, comfy chairs and footrests are the norm. Still, the pace is busy.

If School-Age NOTES walked down the street, what would it look like personified? “It would look like Jennifer Lopez with her energy, style and flair,” says Tracey. “However, it acts more like Mrs. Doubtfire, with warmth, humor, wisdom and a nurturing spirit.”

For more ideas, see Life Lesson 10 of Real You Incorporated: The five senses of branding.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Book tour, Chicago style

Yesterday, I was in Chicagoland on what turned out to be the first fabulous spring day in the city. I enjoyed breakfast at a cozy restaurant with Tripti Kasal, one of the amazing entrepreneurs featured in my book. Interestingly, Harpo Studios was just a block away. Tempted as I was to go stand outside the gate and hold my book aloft, I decided that could be construed as tacky and continue to await their invitation to be a guest.
After breakfast, Tripti drove me to Quartino’s restaurant where I gave a speech to the members and guests of Chicago's Women’s Council of Realtors. I had a blast. What a great group, passionate and positive about the future of real estate and about helping their clients too. Josh and Nate from Borders (at 755 West North Avenue)were great, too. If you’re in the Chicago area, stop by their location for a copy of Real You Incorporated, autographed by moi. I also signed copies at the Border’s on Michigan Avenue.
After a quick trip to the top of the Hancock Building for a stunning view of Lake Michigan and the city, it was off to another book signing at Transitions Bookplace. What a special bookstore. The staff couldn’t have been friendlier, and I enjoyed the peaceful energy of the place. I also had a chance to speak to an intimate group of women – Gail, Tracy, Lin - about entrepreneurship, empowerment and living a snark-free life. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.
Today, it’s off to San Diego.
To read about my seamless travels, visit eBrandmarketing, where I have a column. (Hint: It hasn't been seamless). And if you want to know more about snarks, be sure to visit RealYouIncorporated.com

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The new Miss USA is an entrepreneur!

Don't you love that! Miss USA, Crystle Stewart, not only is beautiful, she's also a smart business woman who's business helps empower women and girls. Times they are a changing! Also exciting, for those of us from Ohio, was that our own Monica Day, Miss Ohio USA, won Miss Congeniality. Ohio has the friendliest folks, don't you know?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Keep a positive mental attitude, and never let them see you down

Remember that success and power are really nothing more than directed energy. As soon as you give mental recognition to self-doubt, that’s when the cookie crumbles. Stay positive! Make a list of the characteristics that people admire the most about you. If this seems awkward initially, ask a real friend or family member to help. After reviewing the list, are you happy with what you see? Do you need to tweak your attitude—just a bit?

Connie Spruill, one of the entrepreneurs featured in Real You Incorporated, has a great attitude. With a defining word like “spark plug,” she’s never been one to let others get the upper hand. She’s all about maintaining a positive attitude, so much so that the name of her company is Attitude Marketers International, Inc. For Connie, it hasn’t always been easy, and she has had to overcome some pretty daunting obstacles over the years. “I feel that a positive mental attitude moves one forward—always,” she says. “No matter what business I practiced, I wanted it to always market a positive attitude.” Whatever she does, whether it’s selling workforce education, financial analysis, small business services or life coaching, that positive mental attitude shines through.

You can read more about Connie Spruill and her upbeat attitude in Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

To create a real brand, people inside and outside your company need to believe in you

Not just your product or service. At the end of the day, it’s all about you. That means your personal brand and your business brand are one in the same. I encourage you to begin by choosing one word that defines you. Here’s a hint to get you started: Think about what you do well.

Let’s use Oprah Winfrey as example. Everybody knows Oprah’s brand. Much of her success is due to the fact that people feel like they know her. She defined her career in a real way—as an extension of her personality. By sharing her story, she got people to believe in her. It’s the reason why she’s been successful at building a phenomenal career.

How about you? What’s your story? Get started now at RealYouIncorporated.com.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Boston is great

Recently, my book promoting activities found me in Boston and reminded me of what a great place it is. We wandered the stacks at the country's first library - amazing - and popped into the the city's largest Barnes and Noble inside Copley Place in the historic Back Bay. It's still an amazing feeling to see Real You Incorporated on the shelves. As always, feel free to pop by and pick one up if you're in the neighborhood.

Later that evening, I headed out to Newton to the studios of NECN - the New England Cable Network - serving three million homes in the six state area. While waiting in the green room/conference room of NECN, I met Sean Garballey - a 23 year old, newly minted member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He was great - even after I told him he looked 12 years old - and I could tell why he soundly defeated his opponents.

During my interview with Beth Shelburne, we talked about my book, Real You Incorporated, but we also shared our mutual love of the book A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. There is something about that book, and her own life, in the midst of our busy lives, that brings peace and introspection. Beth agrees. We also talked about that ever popular phrase - work/life balance. I don't think it exists. More on that in a later post. Until then, here's the clip from my interview with Beth Shelburne of NECN.