It’s not what you say, it’s what you DO (with your Personal Brand).

Last month, Blogger and Senior Executive Business Development and Operations Strategist, Jeff Plante wrote piece about branding in business and why it’s necessary and essential to “back up” up words with actions (within operations, policies and procedures)  in order to continue build a company brand and have it continue to be successful for an organization long term.  In his post on July 24, 2009 (read the complete version on his Growing Profits Blog), Jeff wrote:  

Branding, as a concept, is easy enough to understand. It is the process by which an entity takes certain actions and creates messaging around itself to project an image associated with the entity. The image that a person or company seeks to project is referred to as “the brand” in a company’s or person’s eyes.

He goes on to say:
Success in branding is truly about the journey.  In other words, a business has to be brutally honest with its own self when it comes to defining a brand. What is the image that comes to mind in the market when your company name is heard or signage is viewed or a product is purchased? That is the starting point. The end result point is aligning an executive leadership team and the employees on the brand or image you wish to be seen in this manner in the future. What do you want people to think? What do you want them to feel? When they hear the name of your company? 

A company that understands what a “branding campaign” is really about is truly interested in changing or improving its brand. It will embrace this understanding and will actually tie in its messaging and communications with company operations, polices and procedures that reflect and support this message!

A strategic plan associated with annual operating plans and which ties in the desired brand to specific improvements and changes in the company’s operations, policies and procedures that impact the external environment is a key approach.

The very same practice can and should also apply to every individual out there who is currently looking to build on and HAVE a well rounded and LIKABLE brand.  So I  have rewritten some of  Jeff Plante’s observations as it applies to building a great PERSONAL BRAND AND KEEPING PERSONAL PR in continuous movement.  Please keep in mind that I have learned a lot of this “the hard way” over the years, but glad that I went through what I did  via my own and my clients’ campaigns (especially in the last few years as the term Personal Brand started to come into play) to truly understand that it takes more work than just words to build personal branding, thought leadership and great publicity! 

Let me know what you think:

Branding, as a concept, is easy enough to understand, but it is the process by which a PERSON takes certain actions and creates messaging around HIS/HERSELF to project an image associated with “HIS/HER PERSON.” The image that a person seeks to project is referred to as “the brand” in THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER.Success in branding is truly about A PERSON’S journey.  In other words, a PERSON has to be brutally honest with HIS/HER own self when it comes to defining HIS/HER OWN brand. What is the image that comes to mind in the market when YOUR (INDIVIDUAL) NAME is SEEN OR HEARD or YOUR POST/signage is viewed or YOUR PRODUCT is purchased? That is the starting point. The end result is  being able to get OTHERS  to align (your staff, your publicist, your agent, your colleagues, fans, attorney .. etc.) with YOUR brand or the image NOW and in the future. What do you want people to think or feel (even believe) when they see and hear YOUR NAME?

THE PERSON who understands what a “branding campaign” is really about is also truly interested in also providing a human spirit to as well as always developing, changing or improving upon THE PERSONAL BRAND.  A SUCCESSFUL PERSONAL BRAND will embrace this understanding as well as actually tie in THE RIGHT messaging and communication pattern with HIS/HER own personal (or company) viewpoints and concepts that reflect and support the message!

A strategic plan and a consistent campaign that ties in A PERSON’S DESIRED BRAND to specific qualities and practices that HE/SHE can offer on a consistent basis (again, WITHIN A BUSINESS OR CAREER PATH –for instance) to impact an external environment or audience in a positive way is THE  BEST approach TO BUILDING A BETTER AND  MAINTAINING A CONSISTENT PERSONAL BRAND THAT WILL SIMPLY DOVETAIL INTO EXCEPTIONAL PERSONAL PR.


Personal PR/Branding is what you need in today’s job market…

Had the local CBS Los Angeles evening news on yesterday (Thursday 7.30.09) in my office as I was busy creating new “social media” messages for my clients. I am usually an NBC watcher (since they are really good to me here in the LA market – I am quite loyal to my NBC Channel 4 News in the evenings (Fox11 in the a.m.s!), but it was meant to be. Amongst the tidbits about the day’s local and national news, all of a sudden the announcer starts an intro to the next report saying something like: “Personal Branding is what you need in today’s job market…” Of course I starting freaking out. I just love it when the news media talks about personal branding!

The last few pieces on the news like that revolved around my client www.RezBuzz.com and their impact on the use of video branding for job search and career movement within a social network platform. That report ran on NBC Channel 4 and in and around NBC and MSNBC over the last month! So I was 1. mad that it was not me they were talking to (LOL), but 2. I was excited to see that CBS was in fact talking to “the” personal branding guru himself (who I am honored to have following me on Twitter no less!)…Dan Schawbel, the author of “Me 2.0” which I think is one of the best reads around (THE BIBLE of personal branding if you will…) for anyone who is on the job market OR looking for new business (i.e. consultants and other solo professionals).

I have been at this personal branding thing for a long time now. I am in the throes of trying to complete my own “Got Personal PR?” book, but quite frankly I have been so busy doing the producing of personal branding and publicity for my clients — I just don’t have time (you know, the “plumber’s leaky faucet syndrome” and all). Most of the people who come to me need help not only to build a brand and personal publicity, but more so to PRODUCE IT… let’s face it you still have to be able to find the time, the desire and the ability to be able to do it. There is also a thick learning curve and time availabilty factor to truly be able to build a brand and develop a following. This is a niche that I think I have developed over the last 10 years that is much akin to the making of a movie, production of an event or even the raising of a family and sometimes it does “take a village” (more than just one’s own self) to develop a unique and highly visible personal brand. It’s also kind of cool to have a personal publicist tooting your horn and going to bat for you when you need that extra edge as well as someone to speak up for your greatness when you might not feel you should.


Dr. Carol McCall and her new Webinar: So You Think You’re A Good Listener?

Part 1 of an informative, enlightening and exciting discussion with acclaimed coach, therapist, educator and entrepreneur, Dr. Carol McCall–CEO and Founder of The Institute for Global Listening and Communication, LLC (www.listeningprofitsu.com). Dr. McCall has recently announced the launch of a NEW Webinar Program. The first 90-minute session she is presenting is titled, “So You Think You’re a Good Listener?” and will be offered on July 28, July 29, and July 30, 2009 (6-7:30 P.M. PACIFIC/9-10:30 P.M. EDT).

In this segment, we’ll talk about her “Coaching Journey” and why she decided into the area of Listening Coaching/Training, her current role in Israel, and her book “Listen! There’s a World Waiting to be Heard” More importantly: Why is the “SKILL of LISTENING” one of the most important tools to great success IN BUSINESS AND LIFE?


“Do it yourself PR” is not always the best practice (focus on what “you do”).

I keep going back to this article that was published in Entrepreneur Magazine last month (I had to put it on my website): Get Thee to a PR Firm (by Sara Wilson).  Sara’s short article says it all.  I sit here on a daily basis wondering why most people still tend to believe that “self promotion” is the only way.  Here’s my train of thought: I you are not a regular promoter of “thy self” (i.e. in the vein of Donald Trump— who in fact does have PR people) or a promoter/publicity producer in a company or for an agency (those people don’t have the need to self promote for the most part – they are too busy working for their company or clients), you should not be in dabbling in the business of personal publicity.  There is no such thing as “do it yourself PR” – and there are ways to outsource it to people who can provide a 3rd party representation angle with production and management.  In my opinion, focusing on “what you do” best should always be your best practice.


BRIAN HAFNER – INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE

Mr. Brian Hafner has more than 17 years of executive experience in international financial operations. He is a hands-on leader with a record of business development and operational transformations. He launched his career as an intern at Krediet Bank in Antwerp, Belgium followed by work at Banque Bruxelles Lambert in Brussels. Although he worked for a short time at a small local bank, Oklahoma State Bank, in Mulhall, Oklahoma, Brian has spent the majority of his career overseas—primarily in Japan working in the formative stages with investment banks and hedge funds. Brian has managed operations, accounting functions, and information technology systems in various financial firms. He is experienced in legal, financial, and tax issues involved in structuring international financial firms. He earned a Masters of International Business Studies and a BA in Economics. He speaks Japanese and English and is adept at motivating people and driving projects in international finance. Proficient in Japanese and English as well as holding U.S. Citizenship with permanent residency in Japan, Brian recently established his company, Cherokee Capital to use as a means for managing personal investments, exploring new business investment opportunities as well as consulting opportunities and advising small new venture companies in need of guidance as they navigate through various challenges that come into play during the startup phase.


Video Resumes, Online Video Promotion

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Online Promotion with Professional Video Production

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Mark Sadovnick and Catherine Gray of RezBuzz – NEW VIDEO RESUME SOCIAL NETWORK LAUNCH

As the Social Media Revolution continues to change the way in which we all connect, socialize, meet and network online, the resume–one of the last remnants of the “paper world”—has finally gone digital. The video resume (VR) concept has been around for awhile, but the way in which they are produced and utilized will have a lot to do with the acceptance and success of VRs in the marketplace. Needless to say, the VR concept has yet to be perfected. Until now.

Los Angeles-based Corp Shorts Video Productions (www.Corp Shorts.com) is changing the landscape of how video resumes are being produced, utilized and promoted with the launch of REZBUZZ(www.rezbuzz.com).

RezBuzz is a video resume and branding service paired with a social networking platform that spans the globe bringing together job seekers and businesses looking for new employees. RezBuzz offers hiring professionals and employers a way to search for candidates and for candidates to search for employers with the distinctive feature of connecting through a Professional Video Resume (or “PVR”) or a Corporate Profile Video.

RezBuzz combines some of the most popular networking communities on the World-Wide-Web. We like to think of it as a “LinkedIn meets YouTube meets Monster.com meets Facebook meets Match.com” kind of networking environment.

A video introduction is located on the RezBuzz home page: www.rezbuzz.com.


Turning a Failure into an eB2B Success

Success is often achieved as a result of a failure. Successful entrepreneurs experience failure as a normal part of growing a business; it is an essential part of the development process. In 2000, Michael A. Berman joined the public Internet-based supply chain management company, eB2B, as Vice President of Sales and Client Services and quickly moved up to the position of Executive Vice President, COO and General Manager. Within one year, he repositioned the Internet start-up company from its original aspiration as a provider of sporting equipment and supplies to an Internet outlet for regional retail pharmacies.

Mike Berman had already led several successful company transformations, but none had involved Internet business. When he joined eB2B, they had $40 million in investment money and a business plan certified by McKenzie Corporation. Their business plan looked good on paper and was structured to provide an Internet-based platform for selling sporting goods.

Their first objective was to secure the supply side. They contacted existing name brand suppliers like Nike and Adidas, but were unable to persuade them to market their product through their Internet platform. Without the name brand suppliers, they were unable to succeed. Internet customers of sporting goods are highly unlikely to purchase “off brands” because they cannot be certain of quality. For Internet sales on sporting goods, the power shifts to the “sales side.” Customers generally prefer to purchase reputable products based on name identification. Without the name brand suppliers, an online sporting goods sales platform was doomed to failure.

Mike did not want to throw in the towel. He examined the e-business model and platform and set out to find a business on which it would work. He needed suppliers with products that could be marketed based on price and convenience, which the Internet could satisfy. Retail pharmacy offered just the right platform. They took their proposition to CVS, Rite Aid, and regional players like Plainview in New York. These retail pharmacies were all comfortable with Internet sales because they all purchased through suppliers like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Merck.

The eB2B business platform was a good match for the retail pharmacy business. They were able to build up their eB2B business and sell it twice. Although Michael A. Berman set out to create a blockbuster star in Internet sporting goods sales, he ended up building a supporting actor that generated a nice, $20 million, $30 million, or $40 million in annual revenues. Through this experience, Mike learned that the Internet is more like an enabling tool rather than the mechanism for success itself. And failure sometimes leads to success.


Visionary Exec, Increased Sales 90% via New Service Division

Lee Blake’s New Service Division Increased Revenues Nearly 100% for Adept Technology.

One way to improve company profitability is to reduce expenses by automating. However, if the company is in the business of producing robots and sales are declining, another way to improve profitability may be to develop an “add-on” business. That is what VP and General Manager, Lee Blake did for Adept Technology, in Livermore California.

In 2003, Adept revenues had been declining for several years and the company had just experienced a restructuring that included a capital infusion and a new CEO. The CEO was looking for a business development person and contacted a recruiter who introduced Lee Blake to Adept Technology. Lee had already established a reputation as a technical business development manager who introduced new products, reinvigorated several product lines to higher profitability, and developed new revenue streams for existing technical manufacturing capabilities at Raychem Corporation and Newport Corporation, both in California. Adept Technology could benefit from the experience Lee brought with him.

Lee completed a personal pre-interview analysis of the company and found that they had an extensive installed base of light assembly and handling robots. A review of successful industrial equipment suppliers indicated that post-installation revenue (service) could contribute up to 70% of total revenues and raise overall margins if properly leveraged. Since new robot installations were flat or declining due to manufacturing moving offshore, Lee suggested that the best business development opportunity would be to leverage the installed base and create a “Service Division” in order to respond to changing market conditions and to revive revenue growth.

Lee joined the company as VP/GM of Service and recast the customer service cost-center activity into a profit based business unit. He created or restructured and trained the sales, marketing, operations, and technical functions to accommodate the new business unit. Within two years, the service division contributed close to two thirds of the total company profits and revenue grew by nearly 100 percent. Their new “Service Specific” products captured competitive maintenance and upgrade revenue and salesforce.comwas implemented as a service CRM.

Automation is sometimes the answer to business development, but for Adept Technology to increase their revenues they needed something else—they needed the insight and visionary skill that Lee Blake offered. By creating a Service Division, Adept Technology was able to increase sales 90 percent to nearly $23 million, increase margins, and produce higher corporate profits.