Tag Archives: brand management


 you cannot know what you will discover on the journey, what you will do with what you find, or what you find will do to you.” – James Baldwin

Author S. Renee Smith

I was scheduled to meet with a CEO at “The Metropolitan Club of the city of Washington.” The club is where Ambassadors, Senators, CEO’s and other dignitaries hold membership and build relationships without notepad pages flipping or cell phones buzzing—neither is allowed. 

We were meeting to discuss possible business opportunities and how I could best plan and position myself to sit on national boards. During our conversation, the CEO shared this:

Time is up for men who look like me (white). It’s becoming a woman’s world.

He was referring to the #metoo message that was surging as a leader in shifting power dynamics in the workplace. However, since then, the #blacklivesmatter movement has taken center stage. Protestors, advocates, and everyday people from all walks of life have united their influence on social media platforms to create radical change that is transforming workplace cultures.

What I’m noticing is that by joining forces, space is being created for employees who are marginalized to call leaders out for disrespecting them, and negligently hindering employees career success. Once an incident is posted on a social media platform and likes and retweets multiply, the national media picks up the story. With massive exposure, the offender comes forward with a sorrowful apology and submits a shameful resignation. 

Employee and customer power, what I call public empowerment, is even shifting company policies at drastically rapid rates.

According to reports, Starbucks reversed a standing policy that bans sporting gear that advocates for religious or political movements, including Black Lives Matter,” after staff and customers threatened to boycott. This recognition is also shifting the perspectives, strategic plans, and resources of organizations. Such as the case with Comcast, who posted a multi-year strategic plan on June 8, 2020, dedicating 100 million dollars to advance social justice and equality. And they aren’t the only one.

What do these transitions mean for you? 

I believe they are ushering in a new consciousness and countless opportunities to make a difference in so many spaces.  

Companies are pivoting and will continue to be forward-focused and employee-centered. As such, it’s likely, what you did before February 2020 will no longer suit the needs of an evolving workplace.

For this reason, you have to reinvent yourself. I suggest you start observing where companies are headed and what role you want to play as an employee or as a business owner. 

Here are a few thoughts:

Rewrite your brand story.

  • The story you shared before the health pandemic, economic crisis, and racial awakening most likely will no longer fit due to the all drastic adjustments we all have had to make to survive. Rethink what new experiences you’ll share and craft an innovative message based on them.

Assess your brand equity.

  • How much is your brand worth? What have you learned from the current challenges, and what intellectual property have you acquired? Get clear on what you can offer and how much it’s worth to an organization.

Evaluate your network.

  • Although not impossible, as a result of being in quarantine, it’s difficult to build reliable, trusting relationships with new people. List the people who know, like, and trust you. Think about their brand equity and seek their assistance in helping you expand your brand and network.

As you pivot to reinvent yourself, take the time to craft, communicate, and market your message effectively.

© 2020 S. Renee Smith is an executive and communications and branding expert. She helps senior leaders increase their income and influence by becoming more likable, marketable, and credible. She is also the author of six books on communication, branding, and self-esteem. For more tips, visit asksrenee.com. Want to reinvent yourself? Learn more about S. Renee’s upcoming workshop here.

Are You Ready?

Now that the shift has happened and we are being awakened to the greater purpose for which we’ve been sent to planet earth, we have to prepare ourselves for this new way of thinking and operating. We’re being called to open our hearts to each other and instead of selfishly working for our own good, God is challenging us to work according to His plan for the universe.

It’s easy to nod our heads in acceptance to the call. However, the work comes in removing our protective barriers and opening our hearts while aligning our behaviors so that Spirit, without resistance or judgment, can flow through us.

I don’t know about you, but I have to confess that it’s been a challenge to crystalize the vision and a little overwhelming to get a grip on how to successfully fulfill my assignments. Oprah asks, “What do you know for sure?” What I now know for sure is that I’ll never have all the answers. But, I do have access to the answer for each moment that I’m given. And–that’s enough for me.

Here’s why. There are Angelic forces that work on your and my behalf. While we’re thinking, pondering and sending our requests to God, the Angels are moving and prompting the people who are appointed to help us complete our tasks. What I’m noticing is that often, people will find and reach out to us and we then become witnesses of own life. I’m in awe of God’s divine system.

Recently, I’ve had three such breathtaking moments when the call came with no effort on my part, but to stay in my lane and do the work I’ve been asked to do.

Woman w/ Sign

  • I received an email for an interview from Urbanette Magazine Reporter Vanessa Ness. Urbanette is the longest running women’s online magazine. Here’s a sample of her thought-provoking questions.

Urbanette: Does gender play a role in one’s tendency to build inspiration through group dynamics?

S. Renee: …Inspiration is arousing someone to act on something. It’s often used as a spiritual term to denote in spirit, which means that through Spirit one is caused to act. There is a good spirit and a bad spirit…Read more

If the interview speaks to you, please leave a comment, “Like” it, email, tweet, etc. Your response is necessary to continue to help raise the spiritual consciousness of all people in various industries.

  • Ola Jackson, Founder and CEO, OWN: Onyx Woman Network requested that I join two other dynamic women to discuss Life as an Entrepreneur. Click the title to listen to the 30-minute interview. If you’re thinking about starting a business, the challenges you hear during this interview may scare you, but the stories are real. If you have a business, listen to avoid devastating pitfalls and to be inspired by how you can overcome them.
I hope you’re encouraged to continue the journey. At times, it feels like a mammoth of a task, but it’s our duty to prepare daily for our charge. I’m in prayerful support of your divine desires. Continue to hold on to truth–there is more.

Free free to leave your comment below. If you want to become a part of my innercircle visit srenee.com. Or, to get a FREE audio download of Chapter 2 of my book There Is More Inside visit www.bullied2lead.com. Or, for 10 days of inspiration and growth get your downloads at www.coachsrenee.com.

2012 Copyrights. All Rights Reserved.

© 2012 All rights reserved. S. Renee, SRS Productions, Inc., There Is More Inside®

How to Breathe Life Into a Dying Brand

I’m chair of the board of a scholarship fund in my parents’ name. It’s called the William J. & Reverend Shirley M. Smith, Sr. Scholarship Fund. To celebrate 50 years of marriage and their life and legacy of serving and giving to the community, it provides a three-year $1000 renewable scholarship to second-year collegians with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 – 2.5. The scholarship is intended to encourage, uplift, and develop those who are often overlooked because they aren’t considered to be the best or the brightest—but, we know better. We have all known people who started out as “least likely to succeed” but who finished well. My father and mother are two great examples of that kind of success.

My parents were high school dropouts. My father was a migrant worker who, through hard work and perseverance, built a small thriving business. My mother went back to school at age 36 to earn her high school diploma and later earned two Bachelors’ degrees–one in Marketing and the other in Theology. She was a pastor for 15 years. The scholarship helps students who need additional support to achieve their goals and dreams.

In creating the scholarship fund’s brand, I followed the steps that I usually follow to help a person or organization create a brand that produces anticipated outcomes. A mission that champions a worthy cause people can believe in. A message that is succinct, heart-warming, and engaging enough to inspire people to want to join the effort. A value-based proposition that is the gateway to someone else’s abundant life.

For the launch, we invited about 400 people to a church service called an Evening of Inspiration in honor of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. There wasn’t a cost. We accepted at-will donations. The response was phenomenal. We raised $16,000 in six weeks. Within six months, the kitty swelled to over $18,000. With a goal to raise $100,000 in five years, we decided to host our first major fundraiser seven months later. For our keynote speaker, I reached out to Byron Pitts, the Emmy award-winning 60 Minutes correspondent and author of Step Out on Nothing. Award-winning journalist Art Fennell, producer and host of Art Fennell Reports, committed shortly thereafter to act as master of ceremonies.

The team and I started with 17 weeks to plan the big event. Due to an unexpected schedule change, we lost nearly 5 weeks. As the lead visionary for this project—who lacked formal experience with event planning and fundraising—I suspected that trouble loomed nearby. I was right. I just didn’t know how much.

I had put together what I believed to be a tight branding strategic plan. I reached out to fundraising experts with decades of experience in fundraising. Their buy-in came easy. They gave me an abundance of advice, guidance, support, and resources. They even gave me permission to use their name to get appointments with key decision-makers at corporations. I felt better about the process. This excited me. I thought I was “in.” I miscalculated.

According to them, our branding strategy was impressive. In fact, one vice president of marketing told me that it was one of the best combinations of branding and marketing that she had seen in her 30-plus years in the business. They loved the story, were impressed with our short-term success, and couldn’t believe that Byron Pitts and Art Fennell agreed to come. Why would these two media heavy-hitters headline our event? We were novices at this. As the potential sponsors put it: The William J. & Rev. Shirley M. Smith, Sr. Scholarship Fund didn’t have a track record. No history. And besides, their funds were already committed to other better-known causes.

With little time left to secure corporate sponsors, I had to rethink the direction of the strategy. I asked myself, what’s missing? We had a solid brand. It had all the components: mission, message, and value. But the results from developing tier two—likeability, marketability, and credibility—weren’t alive, at least, not yet. How could our mission become likeable, marketable, and credible without a valid history? The people I was talking to who could make the decisions on corporate sponsorship didn’t know, and therefore couldn’t “like” my parents.

I needed inside influencers. I tapped into my professional network. There, I found it. I revised the plan by working on the tier three. I called people who knew and liked me. That decision was pivotal. They came on board. They introduced me to their friends and things started rolling fast. The brand started to breathe.

Although my parents’ construction company and a media sponsor came on board early, we didn’t get our first corporate sponsor until 30 days before the event. By the date of the event, we had secured six corporate sponsors M&T Bank, Walmart, Delmarva Power, WBOC-TV, Smith Masonry, Inc., and Computer Aid, Inc. (CAI), nine reception hosts who donated $500 or more, and sold over three hundred $50 tickets. Not bad for an organization still in its first year without a national platform.

©2011 All rights reserved. The Bridge to Your Brand Likeability, Marketability, Credibility  available in paperback.  You can read the first two chapters at www.srenee.com.