Feeling Devalued Means You Don’t Fully Understand Branding

“Any questions?” I asked. I had just concluded a 90-minute workshop on personal branding. The questions started pouring in when suddenly, everyone fell silent as we heard these words:

“Why can’t I get the promotion? I’m a great worker. I arrive early and stay late. I ace special projects, and I’m often praised for my work performance.” Pausing, he continued, “I shut my mouth, do my job, and go home.”

Do you ever feel that way — devalued?

Personal branding, in theory, is very similar to product branding. Products have a purpose. They have specific characteristics that make them appealing. They solve problems for targeted markets, which are also called audiences. When they bring the anticipated value, a buzz is created and demand increases.

Keep the following points in mind about branding:

1. Your brand is not identical to your reputation. When a group of people is asked the question: “Do you have a brand?” typically, the majority respond, “No.” The next question is, “Is your brand your reputation?” Most say, “Yes.” That’s partially correct. Reputation emphasizes your character. Your brand is your reputation and what people expect to get from what you do.

Here’s the difference. “He’s a good, honest businessman” is an example of reputation. “He’s a good, honest business man who sells quality, well-priced used cars to middle-class families” exemplifies a brand.

2. Image and branding are different. Many people are also under the impression that their image is their brand. Your image is the perception that people have of you as a result of seeing and/or having minor interactions with you. Your image is an opinion without any real understanding of who you are or what you do.  Your brand is a result of others having direct contact with you or a testimony from a reputable resource who has had an experience with you. Your brand has an image component, but your image doesn’t have a brand component.

3. People are clear about your brand, even if you aren’t. As mentioned, most people don’t believe they have a brand. Nor have they given much thought to personal branding. Although you may not know the value you bring to your business and personal relationships, that doesn’t mean the people you interact with haven’t calculated the value you bring to their lives. What they know about you is the barometer they use to determine which promotions, assignments, and invitations are extended to you.

This is an excerpt from the book Self-Esteem for Dummies. For my free 90-minute audio course sign up here, How to Create Buzz and Grow Your Life and Business. 

Copyright. All rights reserved. 2018 S. Renee Smith.

Pick Me! Why Do People Overlook You and How to Get Noticed

Juan sat on the edge of his seat at the conference table. The manager’s eyes scanned the room as she determined which of the technicians she’d choose to head up the team at the new building. Juan was screaming inside—“Pick me! I’m the best choice for this assignment!”—but he kept his eyes fixed to the folder on the table in front of him. When the manager called on the guy next to him, Juan slumped back in his chair. He was overlooked—again. It was as if he wasn’t even there.

Like Juan, do you wish your boss would take notice of you and respect you for what you can accomplish and what you have accomplished? It feels good to have the respect of others. Respect means being appreciated for who you are, what you do, and how you do it. It means being spoken to in a way that honors you. But how do you get to a place where people look at you with admiration and turn to you for knowledge and insight? You guessed it: assertive communication.

In addition to my work as a life and business coach, I’m also a branding expert. I help people build and protect their reputations. One of the pillars of my model is crafting and communicating a message that triggers a response from one’s audience. Assertive communication leads to success, and success garners respect from others. As you learn to confidently communicate with purpose and clarity, you’ll notice that people will pause to hear what you have to say. As more people listen, the greater the buzz will grow about how your talents, skills, and abilities can help them accomplish their goals. That’s how respectable brands are built.

By becoming an assertive communicator you learn how to speak with purpose and clarity, enabling you to successfully express yourself.

Keep the following in mind:

1. When you speak, you reveal your temperament, judgment, and understanding of people to your audience.

2. You disclose your secret beliefs about yourself and the world.

3. You draw people in or push them away.

When you communicate properly, your competency and credibility are a affirmed both by you and by others.

This is an excerpt from my book. Click the link to order now 5 Steps to Assertiveness How to Communicate with Confidence and Get What You Want. 

Copyright 2018 S. Renee Smith, www.srenee.com. For speaking or coaching services call 888-588-0423.

Should I Create My Own Brand or Become the Company’s Brand?

During a personal branding workshop for a group of polished, ambitious, and smart new hires at a national corporation, I asked the question: Who are you? No one moved. Their firm grasp on investment portfolios, command of Wall Street lingo, and expertise in accounting principles didn’t help them with this basic question. They looked amazed, caught off guard, like I had just announced a pop quiz that they hadn’t studied for. Unable or perhaps too stunned to answer the first question, I continued, “Why are you here?” The tension eased and hands began to pop up.

Not knowing whose hand raised first, I randomly called on one of the blue-coat-white-shirt-fancy-ties to my left. Sounding like a well-rehearsed 30-second elevator speech, he pronounced, “I’m here to represent the (industry) in integrity while helping my clients build the wealth that they desire and come to expect from a (name of the company) employee.”

I wanted to applaud him for his performance. He had learned the bank’s language. He definitely had their image. Unfortunately, he was a long way from home. His response didn’t represent his brand. It was the company’s brand. He did what most people do when they get hired—find a way to fit in. Falling into the image trap of believing that if I show up the way the company executives want me to, I’ll be rewarded. In order to successfully navigate across the new normal of workplace dynamics, you have to BYOB: Bring Your Own Brand, which means, you have to bring the real you, not just the image you think the company expects of you.

I’ve worked with new hires and seasoned employees at state and government agencies, colleges and universities, corporate and not-for-profit organizations, and I have found this: Many people don’t bring their brand to the company. They accept the values, culture, image and brand of the company—even when they don’t believe in them.

How many times have you heard your co-workers complain about the unfair practices of the company? They label the culture as cutthroat, negative, or unfair yet they quietly yearn to become more entrenched in the organization. They are willing to abandon more of themselves for the schemes that they despise.

In return for handing their life over to the employer, a complete and sometimes unfair assessment by the employer establishes the brand of the employee—how talented the person is, how those talents will be used, who they will be exposed to within the organization, and which growth and advancement opportunities the employee will be considered for. Often marginalized because an employer only has a limited perspective of the employee’s abilities, the employee feels trapped by the system’s skewed perception.

But the employee is unaware that the company’s perception stems from them. The real culprit is the employee’s failure to create and manage their own brand.

For most, I think it’s an unconscious decision. With the day-to-day financial challenges and pressures to get ahead, many people haven’t taken the time to find their inner peace by answering the question: Who am I?

I believe that the best thing about today’s challenges is that it’s bringing us full circle—back to our true selves. Loss, devastation, and excessive stress is prompting us to ask the right questions for the right reasons:

1.  What brought us to this space?

2. Why are we here?

3. What are we to learn?

 4. Where is truth?

5. What is the truth?

6. How can we live it together, even if our truths are different?

This is an excerpt from The Bridge to Your Brand Likability, Marketability and Credibility.

Copyright 2018 S. Renee Smith. All rights reserved.

Why Branding Makes Decision Making Easier

Daily you are faced with choices. Where I should go? What should I do? How should I do it? The answer to these questions establishes your priorities? When you don’t have a clear understanding of who you want to be in the marketplace, the choices are endless overwhelming and costly.

The branding process can eliminate the confusion and overwhelm. Whether you deliberately create a brand for a product, business, or for personal and professional development, here’s what you can expect:

1. A process that provides focus to your daily activities and behaviors.

2. A vision that guides your decisions, helping to alleviate some of the stress associated with making decisions.

3. A platform to focus and market your skill sets and receive compensation accordingly.

4. Greater negotiation power when signing contracts, getting a new job and interacting with a loved one.

5. People talking–creating buzz about you that expands your network and opportunities.

Additionally, what you may find most fascinating about going through the branding process is being awakened to the many human conditions that adversely affect our world, becoming aware of how you’ve been directly connected to a specific problem for a long time, and discovering how your experiences prepared you to address that problem.

Are you looking for a fool-proof guide on how to establish your own brand, find your own invaluable skills and emerge victorious in an ever-changing business world. Whether you are looking for a way to take your personal business to the next level, market your unique skill set or build lasting, meaningful relationships, The Bridge to Your Brand Likability, Marketability, Credibility will  help you identify, plan and achieve your goals. And if you want to learn how to create buzz, visit www.srenee.com to receive my FREE 90-minute audio course.

Copyrights 2018 All Rights Reserved S. Renee Smith.

How Can I Get My Boss (Client) to Notice Me?

I like this question because you’re thinking in the right direction.  People have to take notice of you before you’ll ever get an opportunity to sign the contract, land the book deal or secure a promotion.

The person whose attention you’re trying to get has to first see that there’s a reason to look your way. 

So let’s examine this question from their perspective. Ask yourself:

  • What are they looking for?
  • What do they want to achieve?
  • What’s important to them?

The only reason people will look your way is because you have something they want. So, do you have something they want? What is it? As I share in The Bridge to Your Brand Likability, Marketability, Credibility clients and customers (and your boss is your customer) are looking for the following:

1. Your innovative ideas that lets them know that you stay on top of your game.

2. Your intellectual property that says, you know what you know and you know how to position yourself in such a way that they know what you know. Did you get that? If not, read it again.

3. Your value proposition that clearly defines how what you know benefits them.

To learn more about how you can get noticed, sign up to get my 90-minute free audio course How to Create Buzz and Grow Your Life and Business  (if you don’t get the pop-up screen, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click, Get S. Renee’s Branding Secrets Now).

Copyrights 2018. All rights reserved S. Renee Smith.

How Can I Rebuild My Brand?

I was asked this question after speaking at a national conference in Los Angeles, CA . As I listened intently, I was trying to assess:

  1. How bad is the situation?
  2. How is it impacting her life and career?
  3. Can she rebuild where she is or does she need to redesign and start over?

Whatever the situation, I knew at the core credibility and trust were lost. If you aren’t getting the response you want and deserve, then you have trust issues. It’s simple: people don’t trust you and we all know what happens when a relationship has “trust issues.”

Do you want to become a trusted resource? For whom? Are you fighting to gain the trust of a person or market? If so, you have to build your credibility with them. Credibility is earned by living up to your brand promise.

Like any relationship, brands are built on likability, marketability and credibility. Do you bring consistent, reliable and honest value? Perhaps, what you are saying isn’t being perceived as honest. Maybe your behavior is inconsistent, or you’re just not perceived as a likable, trustworthy person.

Regardless of your challenge you first have to pinpoint where you are. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I believable? Does my brand package match my mission and message? Or am I on the hustle trying to get something from people? When the wrong thing drives you,  you’ll get the wrong response.
  2. Am I honest? Do I have evidence of my ability to do what I say I can do? Is my message being communicated in a way that connects, engages and prompts a response? People like to feel like they are dealing with a person of integrity who has their best interest at heart.
  3. Am I trustworthy? Do I return calls in a timely manner, follow-up and meet deadlines? Do I have focused and consistent message? Am I trying to be everything to everyone and I’m failing to be anything to anyone?

If you need to rebrand or redesign and relaunch your business or career, consider my online program UnBottle Your Business Brand or pick my book The Bridge to Your Brand Likability, Marketability and Credibility.

Copyrights All rights reserved. 2018 S. Renee Smith. My website is srenee.com

Do I have a Brand? If So, How Do I Know?

It is a cold winter Sunday morning. I’m running 20 minutes late. Church starts at 11 a.m. It is 11 a.m. I still have to pick up a child I’m mentoring who lives 15 minutes away. I arrive at his home. Instead of sending my usual text “I’m here,” I anxiously, but gently blow the horn. He walks to the car, opens the door, and jumps in. While pulling the seatbelt, he says, “Ms. Renee, you are the only person that trusts me.”

Showing no emotion, yet completely shocked by his eyebrow-raising statement, I wait to hear the click sound of the seatbelt that lets me know it’s okay to begin to back out of the driveway. As I put the car in reverse I’m suspiciously wondering: Am I about to get punked by a seven-year old? Shifting to a mindset lacking emotion or judgment, I asked, “Why do you say that?” Without hesitation he said, “Because every time something happens, my mom asks me what happened, but when I tell her she doesn’t believe me.” Trying to be objective, yet wiser than the mini man, I threw out another question. “So why doesn’t she believe you?” I don’t know, he replied.

I understood his bewilderment. Like what many of my adult clients face, this young child’s quandary illustrated a classic personal branding issue based on past events and behaviors. I searched my mental database looking for an age appropriate way to explain his problem and how he could solve it.

After serious contemplation, I couldn’t decide. Hesitant to guide him from pure assumption that he had created some trust challenges that needed correcting, I waited to collect more data. Driving on to our destination, I decided that reassuring him with a list of people who trusted him would suffice for the moment. I did, however, bookmark his statement intending to revisit it when I could best serve him.

Later that day we went to his favorite place, McDonald’s. After eating a six-piece Chicken McNugget Happy Meal, a cherry pie, and drinking some chocolate milk, he claimed he was still hungry. Surprised, I asked, “Are you sure?” Nodding his head up and down I continued, “What would you like?” He pointed to an oversized color poster hanging on the window that advertised a 10-piece Chicken McNugget for $1.99. “I want that,” he said energetically. “It’s only a dollar ninety-nine.” I didn’t offer to buy it for him right away because I wanted to give myself more time to think and make a good decision.

Finally I asked, “And what else?” He added, “A small fry.” After some savvy seven-year old negotiation, I silently opened my purse and pulled out my wallet. Looking for $3 for the $2.99 meal, I began explaining to him how to go to the counter, place his order, and pay the cashier. Watching closely from afar, I heard the cashier say, “You don’t have enough money.” Thinking that I could have made a mistake and not wanting him to feel embarrassed, I rushed over to find out where I went wrong in totaling $1.99 + $1 = $2.99.

Puzzled by the miscount, I looked probingly into the eyes of the cashier and asked, “He doesn’t have enough money?” She confidently replied, “He ordered a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, a small fry—and a smoothie.”

I smiled at her, peered down at the mini man, and gave him my you’ve-been-naughty look. I requested that she remove the smoothie from the order. I then walked slowly back to the dining area to wait patiently and wisely for him. As I perused my mental database again for the best way to handle this defining moment, I suddenly remembered the statement he had made earlier. But before I could say one word, the 4’2” fella hopped up in the seat and cleverly declared that the smoothie was for me. “I wanted to surprise you,” he announced.

I thanked him for his attempt at generosity. Then I carefully constructed an illustration that explained why surprising someone with a gift by spending their money on what he believed they wanted failed to exhibit genuine kindness. I also revisited his opening statement for the day, “Ms. Renee, you are the only person that trusts me.” This led to his first free coaching session on personal branding and its impact on his present and future relationships and endeavors.

If you are like him, you may not realize that you have a brand that you’ve been consciously or unconsciously building since you came to this planet. It’s the reason you were treated a particular way in school by your classmates and teachers. It’s what’s causing you to be overlooked and underestimated. It’s your brand that is still tagging along with you determining your personal and professional advancement.

The most important point to recall for now is that you have a brand. Subscribe now to get this week’s posts as I walk you through the steps to discover what your brand is.

This is an excerpt from The Bridge to Your Brand Likability, Marketability, Credibility. Get your copy now to get the information and questions to help you shape or reshape your brand.

Copyrights 2011 All Rights Reserved

If I Am Selling Myself as a Product, What Solution Do I Provide?

Great question–that only you can answer.

In my book, The Bridge to Your Brand Likability, Marketability and Credibility I outline the pillars of  personal branding…

1. Mission. Your mission answers the questions: What are you on earth to do?  Who needs what you have to offer? How do you what you do?

2. Message. What do you want people to know, do or have. For example, my message is There Is More Inside. All my books, programs and self-development tools lead my clients back to their authentic selves by helping them to look within for their answers. Whatever you decide is your message downsize it to 7 words or less…less is better.

3. Value. What do you have that someone else needs? How bad do they need it? What’s at risk if they don’t get it? I encourage you to make a list of your skills, talent and abilities. Chronicle your awards and achievements. Keep in mind nothing is too small that it should be overlooked. You have something significant to offer, it’s your responsibility to discover it. 

Are you stuck? Do you want to build a personal or business brand, author a book or become a better communicator or public speaker? I’d love to help.  Visit srenee.com to learn more or to book your consult.

Copyrights 2018 All rights reserved. S. Renee Smith.