Are You Your Own Personal Brand Manager?

Your answer to this question should be “YES!” unless, of course, you are a celebrity or any other global personality who can afford an entire marketing team to manage your image and reputation.

We should all be taking charge in creating, establishing and managing our own personal brands online and offline. Once you have begun to establish yours, managing it can be a piece of cake.

If you are active online with blogs and social networks, managing your brand can be as simple as Googling yourself and using Google Alerts to stay updated on any new mentions or publications of your name, your websites, your blogs, your articles and more. When offline, managing your brand can be as easy as carefully reviewing your performance evaluations at work and/or seeking consistent feedback from family, friends, supervisors and other career stakeholders to make sure your personal communications are being effectively transmitted and correctly received.

As I continue to surf the net for new articles about or related to this topic, I have been amazed at the number of voices against these concepts.

Here are just some of the questions and comments I have come across from such voices:

1. “People are not brands, because people are not products.”

2. “Who cares about your personal brand?”

3. “Personal branding is narcissistic.”

4. “Are you so unsure of who you are that you must reaffirm yourself via internet tools?”

5. “Why is it so important to make sure your online image appears the way you want it to?”

While I respect and understand where each of these points is coming from, I must reinforce the importance of personal brand management in response to each one.

1. It is true that people are not products. However, often we choose one product over other similar products because of its brand (a.k.a. its unique and differentiating value) and how that value fulfills our need in a given situation. This holds true for people, as well. Each person has a unique and differentiating value, or personal brand, that fulfills an organization’s need in a given situation better than other similar people.

2. We should all care about our personal brands because they combine our strengths, our personalities, our reputations, our values and our goals all into one communicable, unique and differentiating value that we bring to the table.

3. Personal branding isn’t narcissistic unless taken to the extreme. Promoting your strengths and your unique and differentiating value to your career stakeholders is healthy and important for your own self-fulfillment and achievement in life. As more and more professionals brand themselves, it is essential that you establish your own brand in order to stand out in your job search and career development.

4. Keeping track of your online reputation with simple online tools does not make you less confident. The internet is a vast and ever-evolving platform on which it is much easier to miss “fires” threatening our personal brands and reputations. Therefore, we must fight fire with fire to stay on top of everything and protect our reputations and our investment.

5. Your online image is just a part of your overall image and personal brand. If you invest time, energy and even money into your own personal development and image offline, it makes sense that you will want your online image to match.

Personal branding is simply creating, establishing and communicating a unique and memorable value and reputation, and personal brand management is the consistent upkeep and maintenance of this value in the spheres in which you choose to exist and be active, both online and offline.

Brand managers establish and protect the value that your favorite chosen brands of products deliver, so be your own personal brand manager and protect all that you have to offer!

How to Make Your Shop Decor Shout

Decorating the walls of your shop. The first thing you need to attack is the walls. A bare wall gives out one simple message…which is blank. In fact, without proper office or shop décor on the walls, it makes the place very unwelcoming and dull. Who do you think would walk into a shop that has bare walls that sings an uninviting song? To entice your customers to walk into your shop and purchase something from your shop, you’ll need to use the right color for the walls…some shade or color that attracts the right customers. If you want the walls décor to give out a warm and welcoming feeling, you can use a darker shade; on the other hand, if you want to make your customers feel happy to be in the shop, color your walls with a lighter shade. Then use some clever slatwall panels to decorate and display your products.

Give your shop décor an alive feel. Apart from decorating the shop’s walls, you’ll have to add plants into the shop décor as well. Having a couple of potted plants will instantly give the place an ‘alive’ feel and your staff and the people who walk into your shop will feel less removed from the outside world. Each type of plant gives out different signals, so play with the type of plants that you use to decorate your shop. If it’s within your budget, assign someone to come into your shop to work out the décor and accentuate the placement of the plants with lighting. Having plants as part of your shop décor can be tricky, though because plants require maintenance. However, you can hire people to take care of your plants for you or you could actually ‘rent’ the plants for your office décor.

Don’t mix and match concepts and furniture in your shop. Maintain a consistent look throughout your shop’s décor. It would give the customers a very mix-and-match feel when they walk into your shop when the furniture don’t match. For instance, you can’t very well decorate your shop with an antique piece together with a modern looking sofa in your shop. It would give the customers a really odd feeling. What you want to avoid with your shop décor is to give it a ‘thrown together’ feel…you want it to shout, CLASS ACT instead of ‘last minute thrown in together’.

Clear the clutter. And of course, just as any professional shop décor artiste or designer can tell you, clutter is an absolute no-no. It’s been said before so keep this clear in your mind…a clear desk clears the head even before you sit down and start your work. This principle applies to your shop décor. Keep things that should not be seen in your shop tucked away in a storeroom…for instance, stuff that you don’t use very often or products that you don’t intend to sell. Don’t leave boxes of products lying strewn all over the place. Ask your staff to regularly check and rearrange the products on the display areas, the desk, the slatwall display unit and of course, the walls. Some customers tend to pick up products and then leave them somewhere they don’t belong. Your staff should make it a point to return the item back to where they belong.

Socratic Method

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