Category: Recession


Just give yourself a little Fresh PASSION as the Foundation
for Your ‘Fresh Branded Mansion’

While I was in college, I articulated my methodology for creating a successful personal brand (though at that time I hadn’t classified it into this brilliant acronym). I call it Fresh PASSION, a convenient acronym that stands for Preparing yourself, Aspiring to reach your goals, Staying laser-focused, Selling your value, Invigorating yourself, Omitting the negative, and Nailing the brand.

And of course, all the passion in the world won’t enable you to achieve success if you employ an outdated, stale approach to your career, your business or your college matriculation, which is why I make sure to put “Fresh” first! In addition, success is hollow if you do not share some of your good fortune with others, so once you nail your brand, it is time to share your success with others.

Here is a brief look at each of the nine phases that comprise Fresh PASSION:

Fresh…

What exactly does each of these terms mean? “Fresh” means doing something every day to enhance your brand so that it stays fresh—keeping your skills sharpened, packaging yourself well.

Preparing…

Preparing yourself” means continuing your education through classes, professional development, building and contributing to formal and informal networks, and simply maintaining an active intellectual interest and knowledge capital in your career and your life.

Aspiring…

Aspiring to reach your goals” means having particular ambitions and then setting out to achieve your goals—aim at nothing and you’re guaranteed to hit it!

Staying laser-focused…

Staying laser-focused” means intently focusing on each area of Fresh PASSION, otherwise you’ll miss the mark and not deliver your brand.

Selling…

Selling your value” means understanding your return on investment (ROI), having confidence in your fullest potential, and constantly searching for new opportunities that will help you meet, or even exceed, that potential.

Invigorating…

Invigorating yourself” means having the tenacity and discipline to go the distance and secure your personal and professional success—fan the flame within and catch on fire!

Omitting…

Omitting the negative” means learning from the inevitable negative experiences you will encounter without dwelling on them or letting them consume the valuable real estate in your head—you have so much more ahead of you!

Nailing…

And last but surely not least, “Nailing the brand” means successfully packaging your substance (your core) up and putting a bow on it so that you become a fresh brand that can successfully compete and WIN internally and externally (even in this turbulent environment), which will enable you to achieve exponential personal and professional success.

Sharing Your Success…

The goal of exponential personal and professional success is not simply to give yourself a great life (though that is surely a key element!) but to help others enrich their lives and reach their potential as well. Once you have nailed your brand and are competing and winning regardless of the economic environment, it’s time to share some of your good fortune with family, friends and even strangers.

Fresh PASSION sounds great, Michael, but what if
I’m not 100% sure what I’m aiming for?

“Success” can be a vague concept. In general it means “doing well and getting what you want,” but unless you know what you want to do and toward what end, devising a success plan is a pointless endeavor. To help build a framework to support your Fresh PASSION activities, think of building a successful career as building a mansion (after all, buying a mansion is the ultimate symbol of success). What does your perfect mansion look like? What materials is it built from? Is there a solid foundation? How secure is the roof? How many acres is the lawn, and what type of landscaping is featured? Do you have carefully designed blueprints, or are you “winging” construction based on some general ideas and goals? Will you use classic architecture that never goes out of style, or something flashy and hip that will look dated in a few years? Do you warmly open your mansion to the company of others, or do you lock the doors tight and live like a hermit?

Achieving Your ‘Perfect Mansion’

Naturally, building your “perfect mansion” in this case is a metaphor for how you will build your perfect career. Your solid foundation is your passion for what you do, and your secure roof is the fresh approach you take that protects you from unpredictable changes in the economic “weather.” The size and landscaping of your lawn represents just how aggressive and widespread your goals are (“success” does not have to mean world domination!), and the phases of Fresh PASSION are solid building materials that ensure your mansion will not collapse under stress. Building a strong brand based on character and real value (rather than tailoring your brand to whatever is “hot” right now) is using classic architecture. And of course warmly opening your beautiful mansion to others represents sharing your success.

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Only the Toughest Brands Thrive in the Toughest Times

According to the pundits, the recession is officially over. As I look at my own situation and the situation of every single person I know, I can only think of two possible explanations for this pronouncement. One, the pundits live in a secret part of America none of the rest of us knows anything about. Two, the pundits are full of hot air.

Either way, the odds are pretty high that “end” of the recession notwithstanding, you are still not in an optimal place as far as your career, brand and life are concerned. When the economy gets as bad as it has been for the past year or so, everybody and everything suffers.

And I hate to be the bearer of more bad news, but the most recent unemployment figures show that 10.2% of Americans are unemployed. This is the highest rate in more than 25 years. Keep in mind that official unemployment figures only count people who have actively looked for work in the past four weeks, and also do not take into account people who are forced to settle for temporary, part-time, or underpaying jobs just to make ends meet.

What does this mean for you? It means that unless you have the secret password to enter the magical realm of the pundits where there is no more recession, you must double your branding efforts. Not to double your results, but to keep them from completely disappearing.

Demand for the vast majority of products and services is down. No matter what line of work you are in, and whether you work for yourself or someone else, most likely there is less need for what you have to offer and more competition to provide it. Being good is simply not enough to achieve success in times like these. You must be exceptional, and not be shy about proving it through your actions and words.

Now more than ever, you brand must be a well-oiled, highly functioning machine. When you are given a job to do, finish it early and provide more value than you are paid for or is expected. When you meet a potential client, customer, contact or job lead, have a 30-second “elevator pitch” explaining why you can provide them unparalleled value ready to deliver. Get off the couch, TiVo that favorite show of yours, and get out to a class, networking event, or other activity that can help you build your brand.

Some people look at times like the ones we are currently enduring, shrug their shoulders, and figure there’s no point in making extra effort since there is so little obvious reward for doing so. Trust me; these people don’t experience maximum personal and professional success when times are good, either. So roll up your sleeves and start doubling your branding efforts today. There are no direct flights to “Pundit-Land” that I’m aware of!

http://www.themichaeldbrown.com

What extra steps are you taking to promote your brand in these tough times? Take a minute and share them!

There is always room for a Good BRAND!

As hard as it to believe, this year’s crop of college seniors will soon be matriculating and hitting the workforce. Usually, graduation is a time of happiness and excitement, but for many grads in the class of ’09, that joy may be tempered with a little nervousness. For the first time in several years, the workforce is hitting back!

According to a new study conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers expect to hire 22 percent fewer new grads from the college Class of 2009 than they actually hired from the Class of 2008. More than two-thirds of employers said the economic situation forced them to reevaluate their college hiring plans, and nearly all of those said they have decreased their planned number of hires. NACE figures indicate 2009 will be the worst job market for new college grads since 2002.

If you were a “branded” college student vs. a “generic” college student you would have likely done the following: You were a campus leader both in and out of the classroom. You excelled academically, held leading roles in clubs and organizations, and actively sought out internships and co-ops with prospective future employers. Through all these activities, you built a network of peers, professors, co-workers and bosses who can all vouch for the effectiveness your personal brand. Guess what – now is when all the hard work pays off!

As someone who built a brand in college, you have already identified your ambition and built the foundations of both a personal brand and a network of friends and colleagues that will help you reach that ambition. Your quest and journey to be a branded student vs. a generic student has served you well the last few years on campus, why abandon it now as you enter the “real world,” when it can help you the most?

Tap into your network to discover the most rewarding job leads, the ones that usually never make the newspaper or the Internet. See if someone you impressed at an internship can help you find a great first job, either with that company or somewhere else.

And if you didn’t become a clear and compelling brand during your college years, – it’s never too late to start! Former classmates, professors, employers and coworkers can still prove a valuable resource in helping you find meaningful work and obtain (or perhaps discover) your ambition. Volunteer for a worthy cause and show how much you’re truly capable of doing. Join a professional organization in a field that interests you and make new contacts.

Whatever you do, don’t sit around moaning about your misfortune to be graduating college this year. That type of behavior is for generic graduates, and branded graduates are winners and not whiners!

Michael is the creator of a very popular process called Fresh Passion- Get a Brand or Die a Generic®. This process is credited with helping to prevent thousands of students from graduating into poverty.

http://www.themichaeldbrown.com