Monthly Archives: November 2012

6 Secrets to MAKE & LEAVE the ‘bulls-eye mark’ of Brand YOU

I am delighted to host Peter’s guest post on the Premier Personal Branding Blog in India. Peter has been a dear friend, who is championing this mutually beloved cause as the Pioneer of Personal Branding in Japan; In this post Peter shares his 6 personal secrets on how you can hit the bulls-eye with your Personal Branding, time after time!

Sterlacci-Peter-Headshot1

Peter Sterlacci

About Peter: Japan’s Personal Branding Pioneer, Peter Sterlacci advocates using personal branding to enhance success. As a long-term resident of Japan—where “fitting in” is the cultural norm—Peter intimately understands the challenges facing Japanese to “stand-out” and is dedicated to empowering on-the-move careerists in global companies in Japan to “break away” from the pack and ride to success. He capitalizes on his 21-year career in training and development and his passion for cycling in his powerful messaging.

What’s Your Personal Brand’s First Impression?

Does your personal brand capture others at “Hello” when you enter a room? Whether you are interviewing for a job, meeting potential clients and partners at a networking event, or even commenting on someone’s blog, how you use your brand to say “hello” and engage others both in the real and virtual world will provide the differentiation you need to stand out.  Bullseye Branding

The first impression you make goes a long way towards defining how others perceive you, and remember, we don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, in hitting the bulls-eye with our Brand!

3 Tips to MAKE Your Mark

1. Maintain eye contact

In the real world we need to look people in the eye at first meeting and maintain good eye contact throughout the discussion. Especially at a networking event, once you are engaged in a chat don’t let your eyes wander towards the person at the other end of the room you really want to be talking with. Keep your focus on the person in front of you until you find a polite way to move on.

We maintain eye contact in the virtual world with our professional head shot – one that has a full view of your face, eyes, and smile!  Use Gravatar to link your head shot to the avatar that shows up when you comment on other’s blog. And don’t be an “egg head” on Twitter! Nobody wants to engage with an egg or a silhouette image.

2. Seek first to understand…

…rather than to be undersood! Too often we get caught up with proving our brand to others by boasting about our credentials, experience, ability, and skills. Our personal brands speak for themselves, so let your brand do the talking!  When meeting people, be the first to ask questions and find a common ground. Listen actively to what others have to say by acknowledging their input and responding sincerely.

Even in the virtual world we need to be listeners. Social media channels are a wealth of insight, ideas, and thought leadership.  Use an 80/20 rule – maximize 80% of your time as a listener and 20% as a talker. By following this rule, the contribution you eventually make will give off an impression of value to your target audience.

3.  Use people’s names and personalize your connections

What’s in a name? EVERYTHING!  People like to hear their own names so make an extra effort to use someone’s names in every interaction. After leaving a chat, thank the other person for their time –  “It’s been great talking with you Peter.”  When commenting on a blog use the person’s name and recognize their contribution before giving your comment – “Thank you Peter for this great post.  I really agree with what you said about…  I often feel that…,”.  A great way to personalize your request is to avoid the standard canned request when connecting with others on LinkedIn. By making your request personal it will demonstrate your sincere interest in connecting with that specific person rather than simply increasing the number of connections you have.

What’s Your Personal Brand’s Lasting Impression?

Just as we need to be aware of the first impression our personal brand makes when we walk into a room, we also need to think about the lasting impression we leave behind after we say “goodbye.” People will always make decisions about you after you leave the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ rooms. Their decision to connect with you will be based on their emotional reaction from that very first meeting, but they will always later rationalize their decision based on the lasting impression you leave behind after you have left the room.

3 Tips to Leave Your Mark

1. Respond and give thanks sooner than later

A good rule to follow here is what I call the “24-hour rule.” Send an email within a day after leaving a real world event to all the people you engaged with. Thank them for their time and even mention something that they shared with you. This shows you were listening and valued their contribution.

In your virtual world always thank someone for following you, mentioning a post you wrote/shared, retweeting your tweets, liking your Facebook page, or commenting on your blog. When others feel you have something valuable to share with members of their own community, show your appreciation and say thank you right away.

 2. Give credit where credit is due

To this day I remember the President of a university I worked for telling me “Go ahead and copy my idea. Just give me credit for it!”

Blogs, eBooks, and online portals have enabled any one of us to be ‘published’. Personal publishing as an important trend for demonstrating thought leadership and extending your personal brand. It is now more important than ever to share the resources where you have gained your insight, tools, and knowledge. For example, “I picked up some great tips from XYZ Blog so check it out this link.” or “My personal branding approach uses Reach’s proven 1-2-3 Success methodology.” In your social media channels always refer to the source of the tweet, post, or video you are sharing.

3. Ask yourself if you are ‘on-brand’ or ‘off-brand’

Is what you are about to say or do going to support your brand or potentially damage it? You might be a thought leader in your field, but an insulting comment could leave a mark that you do not want to be remembered for.

In the virtual world you leave digital footprints behind you. Mind what you say in your blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates, and comments on sites. Personal publishing may be an effective way to leave a lasting impression, but it is also important to realize that once you do publish something online, it is available for the world to see.  You cannot take it back. Even if you remove it or sweep it under the digital carpet, it is likely that someone has already seen it and shared it.

You may have worked very hard on building a lasting impression online, but all it takes is one bad comment or photo tagged of you to show up on the first page of your search results to change everyone’s opinion of you. Use the “grandmother test” – if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see or hear it, then don’t share it!.  Instead share the things that support your brand and would make your grandmother proud.

10 Benefits of Executive Branding for your Corporate Brand-Part 2

The Yin-Yang of Branding

In the first part of this post, we saw the 5 instrumental influences an Empowered & Branded Executive has in empowering the Corporate Brand, by personifying the yin-yang philosophy, which thus leads to a cohesive development of both the Brands in this equation, harmoniously. This post goes on to highlight the next 5 benefits of empowering your executive’s personal brand.

6. Inspires a higher Employee Engagement Level

Empowered Executives feel Appreciated & Honored; and indeed this is ‘your’ reason behind their strategic selection of being the worthy Brand Ambassadors of your corporate brand. When you empower them to take control of their personal brand and career, it boosts their happiness and job satisfaction quotient by miles; and in the form of a win-win turnaround effect, boosts their engagement with the company, customers, associates, business stakeholders etc. and thus accelerates their performance too.

7. Enhances Customer Connect, Client Preference & Loyalty

For an executive, when his Personal Brand reputation becomes as sacrosanct as the corporate entity’s, his performance is fueled with 2X times the effort in building, nurturing and protecting both the reputations-as both are at stake. So as a result of this 2X worth of efforts in the execution of his personal branding & professional commitments, he goes on to add 2X times value to his customers, associates, potential clients and so on. Better value addition at the same or no cost of investment, endears him to them and earns him the deserved reputation of being the go-to person/brand for an enhanced value addition experience. This is the most vital outcome of this exercise- a happy and content customer and client base that is converted into a group of brand loyalists, and more importantly brand evangelists for both these brands they are experiencing.

8. Builds a Dual Halo Effect: The Thought Leadership augments the Corporate Brand Appeal & Brand Equity

The Branded Executive, a proactive brand ambassador is perpetually in the limelight advocating his knowledge and wisdom, by promoting his personal as well as corporate services & products, which enable his brand community to lead a better life. This builds and fosters a reputation of thought leadership for both these entities as they are slowly perceived as the harbingers of the better way of life. This thought leadership, magnetizes (both) your Brands and enhances the appeal they have in your Brand Community; and once a Brand builds its reputation as the thought leader, it then goes on to evolve as the ICONIC Brand that enjoys unrivaled brand equity in the industry. This is the priceless dual halo effect of Personal Branding adoption by the Corporate Brand.

9. Executive Branding brings your Corporate Brand to Life; as they become your Brand, in Action.

There is never a time, that the Corporate Brand has not once, wished to have a live personification of their Brand-in flesh & blood: an individual who epitomizes their corporate brand, talks their brand, and walks their brand! Executive Branding allows the Corporates to empower their individuals to not only build their own personal brands, but simultaneously synchronize their personal brands with their employer’s corporate brands for an enhanced brand experience at their personal as well as professional level. This effort in working towards attaining a harmony with the corporate brand empowers them to bring the ethos, values and vision of your corporate brand to life; by offering a firsthand LIVE experience of your brand to your target audience.

10. Most important: a Stronger Brand means Better Business means Bigger Profits!

Powerful Brands foster Better Businesses and Growing Businesses nourish the power of their Brands. And when this nourishment and enrichment of brands happen at the corporate as well as personal levels, then a business is said to actualize 100% of its most precious asset-its executives. By empowering them to build their personal brand, and thus evangelize and nurture their corporate brand in the process, the company ensures that the executives become the custodians of the brand-who are voluntarily and proactively contributing and building its visibility, credibility and reputation to attract better business opportunities, and hence influence the overall profitability of the company-monetary as well as the corporate brand equity.

These are the 10 benefits that your company can milk by adopting the power of personal branding and honoring your key executives-your star performers, as these are indeed the true brand guardians of your brand.

Words of Wisdom: View branding of your Company and your Executives as an Investment; the one that yields returns in a long run; priceless returns that no other investment can match.

Liked this article, and wish to experience the power of Executive Branding for your C-Suite Executives? Get in touch with its Author & the Personal Branding Pioneer in India-Tanvi Bhatt (The Personal Brand Strategist for Indian CXOs) today!

10 Benefits of Executive Branding for your Corporate Brand-Part 1

Empower: The word itself is so powerful; it fills our hearts & minds with the thrill of the imminent power; the moment someone mentions that they would empower you to do something; it jolts up your nervous system with an unrivaled exhilaration of being in control of your own capability to do something. Isn’t that the heady feeling that you were always seeking-Being in Control?

Traditionally, we the Corporate Citizens have been duly empowered by the reigning Corporate Brands in ways galore! Such that it truly is a moot point to even being commemorating them…  And haven’t we been truly indebted by their humble empowerment of our lives, due to their sole existence?? Yes, we were, we are, and we will be. But today, the game has evolved; the players have evolved and moreover the stakes have evolved from just one sided empowerment to mutual empowerment.  In fact, today the best executives of the company are perceived as the yin to the corporate yang!

Today in the Brandstinction age, when one is on a perpetual scout for knowledge and skills to achieve the desired degree of distinction for themselves in the corporate rate race; the executives who top this race are those who eventually empower themselves with the erstwhile popular X-factor, which is now discovered to be nothing else but the Personal Brand of the executive. An Executive empowered with a Powerful Personal Brand at the behest of the Corporate or his own conquest, is capable of empowering the Corporate Brand in hitherto unknown & unexplored ways. He goes on to become the most adored and admired Super-Hero of your Company: the Brand new Golden Boy of your Company!

And, finally as life comes full circle this Empowered Executive in turn empowers the Corporate Brand, by personifying the yin-yang philosophy, as follows:

1. Boosts Visibility of the Corporate Brand across Offline & Online Media

As the executive steps out of the shadows of professional oblivion (read: a solitary existence in today’s glocal corporate society), and announces his arrival on the ‘brands that matter’ circuit; the 100% benefit of this visibility gets automatically transferred to the Corporate Brand. Simply put, all the Personal Branding initiatives of your executive, nurtures the visibility, credibility & thus the reputation of your corporate brand.

2. Builds Credibility, on account of Executive Brand Evangelism

When the executive enriches his own professional karma, by giving back to the society, the second best benefactor in this circle of life, is none other than the corporate brand that backs the noble executive; the world then witnesses how the beautiful synergy between the personal goals and ambitions of the executive and the professional interests and vision of the corporate brand, builds a rock solid reputation & credibility for the corporate brand of being employee centric and more importantly, a benevolent brand.

3. Expands the Circle of Influence across Industries

Think of the frog in the well analogy to appreciate the importance of knowing the world, and the world knowing you. When the executive realizes how he can add substantial value to others, his sphere of influence slowly starts increasing beyond his native company or industry or community or city or country. The beautiful journey of personal branding carries his knowledge and wisdom across industries-across the globe, enriching & inspiring one soul at a time. It’s simple, Inspire first to Influence later.

4. Fosters Corporate Reputation as a Thought Leader

The thought leadership of an organization emerges from its talent pool, and I believe should flow back to them; thus enriching and empowering their own careers. The naked advocacy of the corporate brand and its employee-centric modus-operandi, catapults the corporate brand reputation as one of the few thought leaders who have acknowledged the age-old wisdom of empowering their real assets-the talented executives. There goes your employer-preference ranking through the roof!

5. Humanizes the Brand Corporate

When I say humanizes, I literally mean Personifies. When we have active Brand champions walking and talking the Corporate Brand Propositions and Promises, we empower a brilliant personification of the corporate brand. Your branded executive takes on the larger than life role of being the face, voice, eyes, ears and the soul of your corporate brand, out there in the industry for your target audience to experience & fall in love with; and in-turn fall in love with your corporate brand as well.

These are the top 5 benefits of empowering your executives to build a truly iconic personal brand; the next post will highlight the next five.

Liked this article, and wish to experience the power of Executive Branding for your C-Suite Executives? Get in touch with its Author & the Personal Branding Pioneer in India-Tanvi Bhatt (The Personal Brand Strategist for Indian CXOs) today!