Tag Archive: News


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.

Forbes: Branding the Pope

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.

Michael got caught talking about The Pope- OMG!

“Thank you for your friendship and for your affection,” Pope Benedict XVI said in his final address Thursday. “I am no longer the pope.”

At 85 years old, he may not seem like the most entrepreneurial of men, and yet Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has become the most upstart figure in the Catholic Church. His decision, announced February 11, to step down due to his advanced age, shocked believers and Papal officials. But it also forced the ancient institution to do what every startup has been doing for generations: adapt or fade.

Career consultant Michael D. Brown applauds the pope emeritus’ move. “I applaud him for having some “steel” in his spine, humility, humanity and making the unconventional decision. I think this will pave the way for other clergy to fill OK with stepping aside when they feel it is no longer something they can be passionate about or give 100 percent. 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.

 

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.

Domino’s Risks All with Recipe Change

Domino’s Pizza, the world’s largest pizza delivery chain, is not content to sit back and let its size and market penetration support the standing of its brand. Starting this week, Domino’s is taking the enormous step of changing its core pizza recipe. Domino’s says the new recipe, which features a garlic seasoned crust, new sauce and new cheese, is more flavorful than the recipe it has based its brand upon since opening as a single pizza shop in Michigan in 1960.

Domino’s proudly says it is “reinventing” its pizza from the crust up to reflect changing consumer tastes. The chain is taking this bold step following an overall decline in pizza delivery sales and its coming in last, tied with kids’ pizza chain Chuck E. Cheese, in a 2009 consumer preference survey.

Folks, this is huge news in the world of branding. Arguably this is the most earth-shattering brand reinvention by a major global company since Coca-Cola launched its “New Coke” formula in 1985. Mass consumer rejection caused Coca-Cola to revert to its original recipe in a relatively short period of time, and New Coke is generally considered one of the worst mistakes in marketing history.

Time will tell if Domino’s surprisingly aggressive move will soar or fall flat. But keep in mind that rival pizza chain Papa John’s has been making inroads against industry leaders Domino’s and Pizza Hut by simply offering a well-crafted branding message about the top quality of its ingredients.

Clearly, Domino’s had to do something in the face of slumping sales and poor customer satisfaction results. But if your personal brand is facing similar hurdles, or your “dough” is no longer making dough, think carefully before enacting a similar wholesale change to the core components of your brand.

Talk to current and prospective customers and clients and be willing to hear honest feedback, even if it’s stuff you don’t want to hear. Ask your Branding Board of Advisers to review your marketing materials, personal pitch, general performance and presentation, and listen to their suggestions for improvement.

I’m not saying that Domino’s is necessarily wrong or that at certain times total brand reinvention may not be the way to jump-start a flagging business. I am saying that this type of wholesale brand change must not be entered into lightly or quickly. It is entirely possible that a few tweaks to how you promote your product or service or simply working harder will produce the improvements you are looking for.

Coca-Cola was big enough to weather the storm created by New Coke, and if Domino’s recipe change fails it may also possess the size and built-in customer base to carry on. Your personal brand, however, probably cannot survive a total reinvention if it goes wrong.

How much of your brand are you willing to change or enhance to increase your compensation? Let us know!
http://www.themichaeldbrown.com

In an effort to get more people to walk through the doors- Starbucks offered five new breakfast items this Wednesday.

Oatmeal
Chewy fruit and nut bar
Apple bran muffin
Berry Stella (multigrain pastry)
Protein Plate (hard-boiled egg, whole wheat bagel, peanut butter, cheese and fruit)

All of these items are touted as having no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or corn syrup.

I am just not sure if these items will make we want to visit Starbucks more, what about you?

In an ever-increasing competitive retail world, you have to offer the customer a TOTAL experience (where most of the experience is FREE) if you want to remain competitive. Many retailers (Panera Bread and Caribou Coffee been two fierce Starbucks competitors) have offered free Wi-Fi for a while. Starbucks in the meantime was still clinging to the TMobile deal where you had to sign up for an account, pay $6 an hour. It had basically just become a hassle for folks who just wanted to grab a cup of coffee and check their email for a few minutes.

Starbucks on Monday announced it was dropping T-Mobile’s $6-an-hour Wi-Fi service for AT&T, which will provide coffee- house customers with two free hours of Internet access a day. With about 7,000 Starbucks locations in the United States, that’s a major boon for AT&T. Now the question is, how long will hotels, airports and other venues be able to continue charging sky-high fees for a service that many people see as essential as running water and electricity. I was at a hotel recently that charged $19.95 a day; I don’t think I will be going back.

Quick question for you? Is free Wi-Fi part of your decision process when determining where to spend your money?

www.FreshCustomerService.com