Tag Archive: media


gov shutdown

Part I – Developing a Competitive Brand That Can Always Win

The recent federal government shutdown fiasco got me thinking about how personal brands are also often at risk for shutdowns due to a variety of internal and external factors. Without delving into political details or assigning specific blame to any one person or party, I think most people agree that even with the recent temporary reopening, our current government is broken. Neither side is really “winning” these days.

Politicians may manage to survive this kind of negative event, but your brand cannot. The turmoil plaguing Washington, D.C, is also plaguing our business and social sectors, so you must ensure that your brand is competitive enough to win no matter how treacherous the playing field becomes. Let’s quickly review a few key lessons about competitive, winning brand-building that can be gleaned from the most recent federal government shutdown.

Strength through Compromise

In an effort to appear “strong,” many politicians in both major parties have adopted an attitude that compromise is a sign of weakness and the only way to win is to bullheadedly advance your own agenda and beliefs, never even considering making a tradeoff in a deal to achieve a greater goal.

One look at the approval ratings of the current Congress should tell you how much respect such “strong” posturing generates. If you refuse to compromise, your brand will be seen as inflexible and stagnant, not fresh and powerful. Obviously when negotiating for a position, promotion or assignment you want to put your best foot forward and obtain your maximum advantage, but not at the expense of alienating the people you are dealing with. The key to brand success is developing repeat customers who buy your brand on a regular basis because it becomes a hallmark of quality, not strong-arming people into one-time purchases that result in a bad case of “buyer’s remorse.”

You Don’t Have All the Answers

Politicians these days like to tell voters they (and their parties) have every answer to every problem that could possibly arise, and there is no chance an opponent could have even one good solution. This system of belief is just as false in business as it is in politics, and will shut your brand down as quickly as it shut down the federal government.

A winning brand is based on projecting an image of confidence, competence and authority in your area of branded expertise. However, left unchecked this image can extend into arrogance if you take the attitude that you are the only one with any “real” authority in your branded area of expertise. A true professional is dedicated to always learning more, which requires having open ears and an open mind. People want answers, but don’t want them shoved down their throat.

Make Yourself Look Good, Not the Other Guy Look Bad

“Mudslinging,” or focusing on your opponents’ flaws rather than your own strengths, is nothing new in politics. But it has gotten particularly nasty as of late and was in full evidence during the shutdown. Politicians going out of their way to make their opponents look bad hardly greases the wheels of government, and going out of your way to make your brand’s opponents look bad will not grease the wheels of your career.

It is surely tempting when trying to win a job, promotion or client to bring up the perceived or real flaws of whomever else may be competing for the same end goal. Don’t do it. Focus on how good you are and how much value your brand delivers. Anything else makes you (and your brand) look petty and also creates clouds of confusion and mistrust that will obscure the advancement of your brand as much or more as it impedes the brands of your competitors.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

MBrown

 

We have all been weathering an “economic tsunami” for the past several years, and although it appears the worst part of the storm is behind us, the seas have hardly calmed. The unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent for unemployment and around 18 percent for underemployed. Companies and organizations are still in pain (they want to deliver exponential growth to the top and bottom line), but they are only willing to invest in a fresh and proven branded product (YOU) with a track record of delivering results – if you are not in this category, you will not be the sought-after solution provider.

According to management expert and author Michael D. Brown, in today’s competitive, roller coaster world, you’re either a distinct and competitive brand or an extinct generic. In order to survive, prosper and achieve great success, you must become a distinct and competitive personal brand (yes, you need to become a personal brand). It is when you develop this brand that you will be able to deliver the experience that people are willing to invest the time and money it takes to recruit, hire, promote, train, and pay an employee in a high-skill, high-wage job.

There are still great opportunities for unemployed and underemployed individuals to improve their personal, professional and economic situation by mastering the formula, 4Ps + 3Ws + 1FP, and standing out. According to Brown, failing to master this formula will render you generic and receiving anemic to no attention, opportunities or investment. The proven formula to standing out and being the chosen solution provider is 4Ps + 3Ws + 1FP.

Click here to read the full interview

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

excellentcustomerservice

 

“Make the customer number one.” Customer service experts have been chanting variations of this mantra since one caveman paid another caveman three clamshells for the skin of a sabertooth tiger. Okay, as far as we know cavemen didn’t chant mantras, but you get my point. The vast majority of customer service strategies use the idea of making your customer your top priority as their cornerstone.

Since most customer service strategies are partially or wholly based on making the customer number one, then obviously customer service levels must be at an all-time high, right? Everywhere you go, people are raving about how great their daily customer service experiences are, and customer satisfaction polls back this affirmation up with hard data.

I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing before I continue. Hopefully you didn’t snort any of your morning coffee out your nose. We all realize that in far too many cases, the one word that best sums up the state of customer service today is “disaster.” Lines are long, information is scarce, products are out of place or out of stock, and no two employees have the same answer to the same question. If today’s public-serving organizations really are making the customer number one, they have a funny way of demonstrating it.

Ironically, customer service levels are declining as competition for customer loyalty is increasing. In this age of chain expansion, a customer can find your services duplicated or your products cheaper on the next block. The one way you can differentiate yourself in a sea of similar competition is by offering a world-class customer service experience. This will never happen if you use the same stale, outdated, failed approach to customer service that you and your competitors have always used before. Namely, the “making the customer number one” approach.

The business world needs a makeover. A new perspective. A fresh approach that I like to call “Fresh Customer Service.” Fresh Customer Service demystifies the process of attracting loyal, happy customers who return again and again and recommend your business to their friends and families. This type of customer reaction, what some may consider as a minor detail, can actually tip the scales and prove the difference between a prosperous organization and a bankrupt organization. So what’s the secret? The Frontline Employee.

This idea is the key to unlocking sustained long-term success in whatever area of service or production your organization offers. Throughout your organization’s entire process of selling, serving, marketing, cleaning — you name it — the only way you can hope to deliver a world-class customer service experience is by listening to, equipping, empowering, involving, and valuing the feedback and expertise your Frontline Employees can offer.

Click here to read the full article.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

pope

 

I’m writing this just after the conclave of cardinals announced the successor toPope Benedict XVI, who last month became the first modern-day pontiff to abdicate the throne. They charted some new ground, choosing 76-year-old Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first non-European to fill the role in more than 1,200 years and the first ever from the Jesuit order. But in other ways, it was a vote to preserve the status quo, as Bergoglio, who has chosen to be called Francis, is a theological conservative.

But in addition to that, Pope Francis will need some rock-solid branding skills. He’ll have to have a strong personal brand, a vision for the church’s brand in the 2010s and beyond, and an understanding of how outside forces might conspire to brand him.

My fellow Forbes contributor George Bradt, a leadership-development expert and the co-author of The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan,recently offered some interesting insights in his column about what the new pope can learn from past leaders: “Now the church is at a turning point and the new Pope must do his part to complete its cultural change,” he explained in his introduction. The last time this was so was in 1958, when Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli became Pope John XXIII. One of his first acts was, says Bradt, “to call the Second Vatican Council ‘to open the windows of the Church to let in some fresh air.’”

That’s a good start but a little vague. The new pope’s personal brand needs to assert that he’s someone suited to fostering changes in environment, values, attitudes, relationships and behaviors. “Given the new environment,” Bradt wrote, “the re-commitment to core values and the new attitude, strengthening relationships by strengthening communication, encouraging more in-depth debate and tackling conflict is critical to making Vatican II’s intended changes real and sustainable.”

Although Bradt concluded by stating that achieving meaningful culture change is a marathon not a sprint, Romy Ribitzky at Upstart Business Journal argued an opposite point, that Pope Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation “jolt[ed] the Church into Catholic 2.0” and “forced the Church to confront his departure in an entrepreneurial fashion.”

His stepping down, she continued, “forced the ancient institution to do what every startup has been doing for generations: adapt or fade.” It also reinforced his own personal brand with some “‘steel’ in his spine, humility, humanity and making the unconventional decision,’” as Ribitzky quoted career consultant Michael D. Brown. “‘You can’t give 100 percent of something you are not passionate about—it’s best to move on a connect back to your passion.’”

Click here to read the full article

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

Without a personal brand, you don’t have a career… you only have a job. When you are a ‘generic’ individual, there is only so far you can go in a given job, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re replaced. If you develop a dynamic personal brand, however, you differentiate yourself from your competitors and become a force to be reckoned with. Nothing will keep you from personal, economic, and professional success.

If you want to attract the perfect job, the perfect career, or the perfect business opportunity, you have to start with your personal brand. This interview is a great place to start.

 

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.

A couple of weeks ago I laid out 13 tips for wrapping up 2012 and preparing for the new year at work. My expert sources suggested that you complete outstanding projects; establish new goals; reflect on accomplishments; get organized; and tie up loose ends–among other things.

Now, as you return to the office in 2013, there are a few things you can do to ensure you start the year off right.

forbes“A new year is a brand new beginning,” says Anna Sidana, VP of marketing at Simply Hired. “If we take the time to step back from our day-to-day and hit reset, it is a chance to look ahead with a new perspective and make every day count.”

She suggests you take a moment to reflect on your life–both professional and personal–and kick off the new year with renewed energy and a fresh focus. “Close out any small, nagging projects and focus on the big ones that can accelerate your career. Reach out to colleagues and strengthen those dusty relationships. A new year offers this unique opportunity to step up the game and become laser focused.”

Michael D. Brown, a career consultant, author, and motivational speaker, adds: “In this continuing economic tsunami of 2013, you must be clearly purposed and focused on success with a well-defined and proven game plan to transition yourself from a generic to a fresh and powerful personal brand,” he says. Companies and organizations can no longer afford to invest in generic employees with anemic or non-existent ROIs; and they’re not able to be competitive if they don’t have a fresh, branded and competitive workforce.

“The best success navigation plan you can have is to turn yourself into a clear, compelling, and competitive personal brand,” Brown says. “You can’t wait to do this in August; you must do this now. As such, you will be seen as someone who can add and deliver value in these turbulent times.”

Click here to read the full article.