Tag Archive: economy


The more you reach back and share with someone else
the greater your success will become

Where has the year escaped to? We are quickly approaching the end-of-year holidays: a time for joy and sharing. So I am going to close out the 2012 series of articles with a reminder that the best way to enjoy your success is to share it with friends and family. 
 
I have been using building your “dream house” as a metaphor for building your perfectly aligned and promoted brand, and I believe it is an apt comparison. After all, your brand should serve as a home where all your professional skills and aspirations reside and draw strength, so that you can go out into the world and compete in today’s ultracompetitive marketplace. 
 
But imagine for a moment that you have invested the time, effort and expense to spend most of the year building your dream home, decorating it exactly the way you want it to look and getting settled in. Now the holidays are coming – don’t you want to have friends and family over for a sumptuous holiday feast, so they can share in the fruits of all your efforts? Why create your dream home if you aren’t willing to share your dreams with those close to you? 
 
Likewise, you need to share your brand success with those close to you – be they relatives, friends, classmates, co-workers, spouses/romantic partners – whoever means something in your life. This doesn’t mean rubbing your success in their faces, but it does mean perhaps picking up the tab for a nice dinner or inviting an old friend to play a round of golf. If you are successful enough to buy a fancy car, boat or other grown-up “toy,” make sure the people you care about get some enjoyment from it, too. The point of building a successful brand is not to become a recluse or miser, but to become someone who gets maximum enjoyment from life and is willing to share some of that enjoyment with others.

How Slammed is Your Door?

Following is a test to help determine whether your door (so to speak) is wide open to sharing your brand success, partially open, or slammed shut. Rate how strongly you agree that each of the following fresh statements applies to you today from 1 to 5, with 1 equaling strongly disagree and 5 equaling strongly agree
 
Scale
5♥ Wait, that’s really, really true about me- Strongly agree
4♥ That would be me- Agree
3♥ 50/50 sometimes, sometimes not- Somewhat agree
2♥ That absolutely has nothing to do with me- Disagree
1♥ Let me take the fifth on this- Strongly disagree
 
1. When I experience success, I see it as an opportunity to help others. 
 
2. I am not foolish with my money, but when I am doing well financially I’m willing to spend some on the people close to me. 
 
3. Success does not prevent me from staying in touch with the people I care about. 
 
4. Success does not lead me to forget about the people who helped me achieve it. 
 
5. I do not use success as an opportunity to engage in “one-upmanship” or pettiness. 
 
6. I do not feel that success makes me superior as a person to others who might be less successful. 
 
6.5 I always remember that in the end, people mean more than money or material goods.

What’s your digits?

Now that you’ve taken the test, let’s analyze how well you are securing your brand image: 
 
If you scored from 7 to 13, your door is slammed shut to sharing your success. Your selfish attitude may provide some shallow, short-term enjoyment, but ultimately it will cause you to become lonely and dissatisfied. 
 
If you scored from 14 to 20, your door is open a crack to sharing your success. You might pick up a check once in a great while, but you’re not really being generous with what you have earned. 
 
If you scored from 21 to 26, your door is open halfway to sharing your success. You remember who your friends are and show some basic goodwill, but still keep a lot of your success to yourself. 
 
If you scored from 27 to 33, your door is open three-quarters to sharing your success. You make some genuine attempts to share your good fortune with others, but still don’t fully put your heart into the effort. 
 
If you scored a 34 or 35, your door is wide open to sharing your success. You do not attempt to show off or buy people’s affection, but you realize the intrinsic value of helping others around you and put people before material items and wealth. You are enjoying the best kind of success – that which nourishes the spirit and mind as well as the body.

GAP – Great Action Plan

I will conclude today’s look at sharing your success with a Great Action Plan. To truly share your success, you must determine exactly what steps you must take to be generous without being careless or boastful. 
 
Now, using the information above, what will you do to close the GAP? What’s your Great Action Plan for nailing a brand that will yield personal, economic and professional success? 
 
What will you do today? __________________________________
What will you do this week? _________________________________
What will you do this month?_________________________________

Happy Holidays! 
Exponential Happiness, Peace, and Overflow

Homebuyers often have two options: a fresh new house in “move-in” condition or an old “fixer-upper.” No big surprise, the newly built home not in need of any significant repairs or renovations tends to fetch a lot more on the market.

Brands are a lot like houses – fresh houses are more in demand and bring in more money than houses that are old and in need of some “TLC.” People who achieve meaningful and long-term success personally, economically and professionally understand the critical importance of staying fresh. You can’t just land your newly developed personal brand today, move into it and expect it to carry you throughout your career and life while you do not perform any maintenance or upgrades.

Anyone who has ever been in love (or even thought they were in love) can attest to this. The initial courtship is passionate and you can’t see enough of each other. But as you know, time goes on, competition enters, and that once passionate flame begins to flicker and eventually burns out. If a relationship is to have any chance of thriving long-term success you’ve got to keep it fresh, right?

You are essentially in a relationship, or pursuing a relationship, with bosses, clients, co-workers, customers, teachers, etc. For your relationships with the people who consume your brand to thrive long-term, your brand needs to stay fresh, current and vibrant enough to retain their interest and outshine the other brands vying for their hearts.

How Slammed is Your Door?

Let’s compile a homeowner-themed “slam score” of your freshness. Is your brand’s door wide open to fresh new ideas, concepts and activities, or is it slammed shut against all progress and modernization? Rate how strongly you agree that each of the following fresh statements applies to you today from 1-5, with 1 equaling strongly disagree and 5 equaling strongly agree:

1. My friends and colleagues come to me for the most up to date information.

2. If you are looking for fresh ideas, I am the one.

3. My current skill set is the most competitive out of anyone I may come up against for a job and/or promotion.

4. I am aware of the latest technology that can help me personally and professionally.

5. When my friends and colleagues want a fresh perspective or strategy I am the first person they call.

6. The last book that I read was one that was published within the last 12 months.

6.5 My resume is current, up to date and competitive.

Now that you’ve taken the test, let’s analyze your score:

If you scored from 7-13, your door is slammed shut. You know what that means: nobody wants to purchase your brand and you’ll soon be taken off the market and maybe even put into foreclosure.

If you scored from 14-20, your door is open a crack. There is minimal demand for your personal brand, but only at a steep discount and when the more popular and competitive brands are all off the market.

If you scored from 21-26, your door is open halfway. Your brand will sell if it stays on the market long enough, but anyone seeking a truly comfortable home they can move right into will look elsewhere.

If you scored from 27-33, you door is open three-quarters. Your brand is a respectable choice for the discerning homeowner, but only as a backup if higher bidders get the more desirable homes in the neighborhood.

If you scored a 34 or 35, your door is wide open. Congratulations! You have the home that is most in demand and fetches the highest prices in town. Your buyers come to check you out early in the morning, when only the most competitive homebuyers are out evaluating the available options.

2.5 Keys to Unslamming Your Door

Just because your door may not currently be wide open does not mean it has to stay that way. Even a door that is stuck due to years of staying closed can be pried open with the proper tools.

So to help you unslam your door, or keep it wide open if it’s already that way, I offer the following 2.5 fresh keys to opening even the most stubbornly slammed door so the whole world can come on in.

Key 1: Establish a network, refresh your network – Simply put, without a well-established and maintained network, you will not go far in this world. Due to immense market pressures and the rapid speed of modern business, today’s employers do not have time to waste searching for job candidates, evaluating them from scratch, and then hiring and training one they hope will turn out to be successful.

A large number of employers are now more willing to hire people they know, either directly or through someone, who can demonstrate they will succeed with a minimum of training or development. And a few key questions that they will ask of someone who knows you (hopefully that’s in your network) is what’s your track record like, can you make things happen and can you get results. You want to empower your network members with the ability to respond with a resounding, “He/she is the person that can make it happen and they have a track record of results.”

So how do you go about establishing a network? As an aspiring or current member of the professional world, hopefully you have already taken some basic network-building steps, but don’t be complacent. Continue to join professional associations and volunteer for causes you believe in. Look for the “movers and shakers” and invite them into your network, identify people who are where you want to be and what you want to become, and soak up their knowledge like a sponge.

Also keep in mind that a network is a living, breathing organism. It needs regular nourishment or it will die (remember, you have to keep it fresh). Refresh your network on a regular basis. Call that old college buddy you haven’t seen in a while and find out what he or she is up to.

One final note on networking in the 21st century – your network is no longer constrained by physical bounds. Thanks to the unifying power of the Internet, you can build a virtual network that spans the globe. Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and Spoke.com, alumni-oriented sites such as Classmates.com, and even social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, allow you to establish a profile and build valuable relationships with people you may never even “meet” in the physical sense!

If you maintain any type of personal Web site or blog, please keep in mind that it needs to reflect the type of image you want to present to prospective employers and business contacts. If you’d be embarrassed for your parents, children or spouse/significant other to see it, or for it to make headlines in the New York Times, keep it off the Internet!

Key 2: Implement five fresh steps into your daily routine – You need to do a little “modeling,” which is one of the biggest secrets of successful people. Continuing with our real estate-themed example, let’s look at the daily life of real estate mogul Donald Trump. According to his book Trump: The Art of the Deal, he rises most mornings by six a.m. and spends an hour reading newspapers. He arrives to work by nine a.m. and during the course of a working day that runs till about six-thirty p.m., makes 50 to 100 phone calls and has at least a dozen meetings, most of which last no longer than fifteen minutes. He rarely stops for lunch and will often continue making phone calls from home until midnight and all through the weekend. Trump finds all of this activity enjoyable.

If you are a beginning real estate developer, you could easily work five of these steps into your daily routine. Rise at six a.m.? Check. Spend an hour reading newspapers? Check. Arrive to work by nine? Check (come on, you should be doing this step already!). Make 50 to 100 phone calls per day? Check. Skip lunch? Check. And even if your personal schedule doesn’t allow you to make calls from home till midnight or through the weekend, you can certainly enjoy your work as a real estate developer. Implementing these steps couldn’t possibly make you less successful, and I’d be amazed if they didn’t make you more successful over the long haul!

Key 2.5: Stay fresh and keep nailing your way forward, into your big fresh mansion – The marketplace is ever changing as is the norm, so always be positioned to competitively respond. But dare you get comfortable as there is always bigger and greater in you. The “nail” will prevent the door from slamming shut and help keep it open. Don’t acquiesce to fixing up your “local generic shack” – instead focus on building a world-class mansion.

TGAPTM – The Great Action Plan

I will conclude today’s look at brand freshness with a Great Action Plan aimed at helping close the gap between true freshness and staleness. To become fresh, you need to change your attitude toward living! Rather than trying to adopt a “quick fix” to obtain pseudo-success that will not last, take the longer-term approach of developing a fresh attitude toward life that will allow you to achieve personal and professional success that permeates your entire existence.

Now using the information above, what will you do to close the GAP? What’s your Great Action Plan for becoming a fresh brand that is sought after and will yield you personal, economic and professional success.

What will you do today? __________________________________
What will you do this week? _________________________________
What will you do this month?_________________________________

Clients, Colleagues and friends continue to exclaim to me that they would work on creating and enhancing their personal brand – if they had more hours in the day. Well, getting more hours added to the day will not happen. The secret is to get more productivity out of the day- you heard me? I can share with you hundreds of examples of clients who have created the time and space to take themselves from generics to world-class personal brands- where they are experiencing exponential personal and professional success.

To help you maximize your productivity (yes you can get 30 hours out of a 24 hour day) I want to recommend a fantastic program that my colleague Jason Womack delivers. Increasing your productivity will afford you the time to create and execute your world-class personal brand.

Mastering Workplace Performance Online

Learn professional productivity and performance techniques to achieve your objectives. Equip yourself with the tools and the processes to get more of their
work done, on time, with fewer resources and with less stress. Manage the details that create effective workdays and successful professional careers.

Lessons designed to:
▪ Study your own productivity and performance habits, strategies and actions
▪ Understand and apply current time and action management techniques
▪ Learn and practice effective learning and communication processes
▪ Save time through the application of front-side workflow processing

VISIT:
http://www.womackcompany.com/mwponline

Your partner for fresh results,
Michael D. Brown
http://www.TheMichaelDBrown.com

Do you have a game plan that will navigate you to exponential success in 2011?

Imagine you are the captain of a luxury ship suddenly caught in the middle of a fierce and unpredictable storm. Your first concern is most likely to save the ship – but saving the ship alone will not necessarily save you. When the storm begins to settle down, you don’t want to look up and discover that you have shifted way off course.

With a laser-focused and disciplined plan of action, you can survive and prosper in any storm. This ability will give you an edge over your competition and position you to successfully ride through the many storms that will inevitably come your way. Regardless of whatever storm you find yourself heading into, entangled in, or coming out of, stay laser-focused. You don’t want to be blown so far off course that you can’t properly function, prosper, and maximize your personal and professional success.

Don’t jump off the ship

You could simply jump ship, but this is not the best option. Just sitting on the ship is not the answer either, nor is inviting a lot of your negative friends on the ship and throwing a party. The answer is to develop a laser-focused and disciplined navigation plan and move forward at an accelerated pace. This will help you to successfully perform, deliver, and stay on course through any storm or adversity you encounter.

The best “success” navigation plan you can have is to turn yourself into a clear, compelling, and competitive personal brand. As such, you will be seen as someone who can add and deliver value in these turbulent times and the economic tsunami threatening to engulf all of us. This, my friend, puts you on the path to personal and professional success. Becoming a successful brand will work if you are employed, underemployed, an entrepreneur, executive, middle manager, entry-level employee, college student, recent graduate, etc.

Becoming a brand always works for companies and organizations, as well. You have to provide a branded customer experience that your employees can execute and use to attract, retain, and grow your customer base.

Follow the Example of Successful Sports Franchises

Or to use another metaphor many of you may be familiar with, use the same kind of success navigation plan employed by the most successful professional sports franchises. Even if you are not a sports fan, surely you are aware of certain legendary teams like the New York Yankees in baseball, Dallas Cowboys in football, and Boston Celtics in basketball. All of these franchises have experienced their ups and downs through their many years of existence, but all are noted for winning numerous championships and have a dedicated fan base that extends beyond their geographic area and sticks by them, win or lose.

How do these teams do it? By realizing their brand, first and foremost, is built on winning. Memories of past glories carry them through the difficult seasons, but they are aware that you cannot rest on your laurels. They all take what could be considered a ruthless approach to their players and coaches, replacing even popular personalities when they realize those personalities no longer contribute to the ultimate goal of winning. For example, the Cowboys replaced their legendary coach Tom Landry in the late 1980s after 29 years (and multiple Super Bowl wins), realizing his time had passed and a fresh approach was needed to coaching. The result was the hiring of extremely successful new coach Jimmy Johnson, which led to a phenomenal run of success in the 1990s.

In contrast, the Celtics fell away from this philosophy in the early 1990s and let several aging superstars stay on with the team in a decision that Celtics tradition outweighed winning. The result was a long period of mediocre performance that damaged the Celtics brand. Only when the Celtics engaged in an intense series of major personnel shifts did they produce a long-awaited championship that restored their esteemed brand in the sports world. And the Yankees clearly are willing to spend the money needed to bring in high-profile free agents who help sell tickets and win World Series.

By remaining laser focused on their core brand attribute, winning, and being willing to tinker with other aspects of their brand, such as individual players on the team, these franchises have become leaders in their respective sports who can weather the storms of losing that even the greatest teams inevitably encounter.

You can brand your way to success

I know becoming a brand works because I have been in all of the above positions and used the creation and execution of my competitive brand as my navigation plan to continually achieve exponential personal and professional success.

The economic tsunami that we are experiencing now, where personal and professional success seems to be sinking to anemic levels, doesn’t have to determine the outcome of your life and/or career. Using the techniques described above, I have navigated and survived over 11 corporate restructurings, downsizings, rightsizings, and reorganizations. After each event, I ended up with a promotion or a lateral move that helped me add value to my brand, which in turn positioned me to capture more personal and professional success. I thus prevented myself from graduating into poverty.

More recently, I was able to grow and prosper during the 2010 global recession/downturn/out of control economy. My secret was (and still is) the consistent development and fresh and flawless execution of my personal brand through my trademarked and signature process Fresh Passion (Get a Brand or Die a Generic)®. I have used this process to help thousands of individuals, entrepreneurs , executives, and students achieve exponential personal and professional success.

Over the coming months, I will share the nine phases of the proven Fresh Passion (Get a Brand or Die a Generic)® process with you. It is my hope, strong belief, and personal desire that you, too, can develop and flawlessly execute your powerful and competitive personal brand that will yield consistent and exponential personal and professional success, even in this environment!

So with all hands on deck and overtime on the bridge, we will achieve and experience exponential personal and professional success in 2011!

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!

How Flexible is Your Brand?

Adaptability is Key to Surviving and Thriving When Times Are Tough

Some people pride themselves on having always provided the same services and/or products the same way, at the same price, for years on end. They think this inflexibility in how they serve their customers, bosses and clients is a sign of brand strength, proof that they can provide something constant in a chaotic and ever-changing world.

Hooey. The people you provide products and services to, the connoisseurs of your brand, if you will, are not looking for a constant. They’re looking for the best deal or best advantage they can get today. What works best today may not be what worked best yesterday and probably won’t be what works best tomorrow. In this difficult environment when nobody wants to spend a penny they don’t have to, the only unchanging constant associated with your brand should be that you provide a top quality brand experience. Everything else should be open for negotiation.

Let me give you an example from my own brand-building experience to illustrate exactly what I mean. When I first left my career as a top executive at a Fortune 5 company to become a full-time motivational speaker, career coach and business author, I was surprised by the need to quickly and effectively change my operating model in a seamless manner.

I mean the whole enchilda: marketing, branding, client support and customer services. I no longer had the resources of a global organization to fall back upon; I had me: Michael D. Brown. If Michael D. Brown did not complete a task, no matter how small or menial, there were no support staffers to complete it for me.

On top of this drastic change in resources and responsibilities, the economy decided to start tanking right around the time I made my career switch. As the economy proves it can change drastically without warning, you need to have robust contingency plans in place that allow you to quickly reduce your operating cost while increasing the level of service and value you provide to your customers.

When the economy struggles, consumers start to look for low-cost, quality solutions and will pay little attention to a business that isn’t adjusting their pricing without sacrificing quality. This meant I had to be willing to accept less for doing the same or even more work. After all, collecting 50% of my previous fee is a lot better than collecting 0%!

By being flexible, by being willing to alter every aspect of my brand proposition except for the top-level products and services I provide, I have been able to survive and yes, even thrive as I grow my young business during one of the worst recessions in living memory. I may not be making quite as much as I would have had I stayed in my executive position, but the freedom of being my own boss and satisfaction of helping others to earn my living more than make up for any lost pay. At the end of the day, flexibility can help you obtain the most valuable brand asset of all: peace of mind.

Have you found yourself taking a more flexible approach to building your brand, either by choice or necessity, during this recession? Let me know your story!

http://www.themichaeldbrown.com

The Same Brand Can Mean Different Things to Different People
Expect Negative Reactions, and Go on the Offensive against Them!

Even the most popular and admired brands have their detractors. Not everyone likes the taste of Coke or the fit of Levi-Strauss jeans. So it will be with your brand. No matter how hard you work or how much unique value you provide, there is almost guaranteed to be at least a handful of detractors. If you’re lucky, your detractors will be few in number and low-key in their criticisms. But you may not always be lucky.

A perfect example of a brand that has recently garnered intense public reaction, both positive and negative, is the brand of health care reform. President Obama made health care reform a pillar of his presidential campaign last year and now is trying to implement it. His supporters will tell you Obama’s plans are humane, rational and necessary for the good of both public health and the economy. But there is another, very vocal side of the public argument.

Obama’s detractors argue his health care reform proposal will turn America into a socialist or even communist nation, bankrupt small businesses, create massive deficits and tax hikes, drive doctors out of their practices, and even subject senior citizens to “death panels” that will determine if their lives are worthy of continued medical care. Former Alaska Governor (and Republican VP candidate) Sarah Palin has publicly compared Obama’s plan to Nazism.

Few people are saying our country’s current health care system works well, and few are questioning how hard Obama has worked on crafting his proposed reform or how dedicated he is to enacting it. Yet ask two different people their opinion on the current health care reform issue, and you may think there is no possible way they are talking about the same subject. Sometimes you can work really hard and genuinely try to offer creative solutions to established problems, and still not satisfy large segments of your audience. Please keep in mind I’m not taking a public stance on health care reform, I’m simply using it to illustrate a point about branding.

So what do you do when faced with vocal detractors to your brand? Go on the offensive! Obama’s response to the intense criticism of his health care plan is a perfect example. Rather than ignore his detractors, or try to combat them through the media, Obama and his allies are directly taking their argument in favor of their brand to the public through open town meetings, knowing full well detractors will show up in force. This allows the Obama team to demonstrate how fervently they believe in their brand, directly rebut criticisms of it, and deliver a message undiluted by third-party interpretation.

You should do the same thing. If a competitor or former customer is bad-mouthing you to your clients, acknowledge the criticism and defuse it with direct communication. If your brand competition is internal, don’t be afraid to publicly defend your brand at company meetings or at the water cooler. Your entire livelihood rests on your brand; so you can never rest in your efforts to identify and neutralize its detractors.

www.themichaeldbrown.com

Reader Poll: What brand of health care reform do you think is being proposed? A humane, rational brand? An inhumane, un-American brand? A mediocre brand that doesn’t really change anything? Something else entirely? Share your opinion today!

A Strong Brand Can Withstand Any Storm

A colleague of mine who lives in New England was recently complaining about some of the crazy weather they’ve been having his way. If you’re familiar with New England weather, you know it is highly unpredictable, and never more so than in the spring. During one week in April, a 90 degree day was followed by a frost warning!

I like to chide my colleague that as a hardy New Englander, he should be ready and able to absorb whatever curve the weather throws his way. Your brand is no different. The “weather” your brand has to deal with these days is turbulent to say the least – economic recession, job losses, company bankruptcies and closures, the collapse of the housing market. Springtime in New England doesn’t sound so bad compared to what is going on in the professional world these days!

But just like a good New England home is fully weatherproofed, your brand should be weatherproofed, too. If unemployment is high, your brand should offer unique professional skills that make you a desirable hire regardless of the wider employment situation. If your company is laying off employees, your brand should let your bosses know you’re too valuable to let go no matter who else is being shown the door. If you are a self-employed contractor or business-owner hunting for clients or customers, your brand reputation should be all the advertising you need.

Take a long, honest look at how hardy your brand is in the face of inclement weather. Is it fully insulated and watersealed, prepared to withstand the most catastrophic of events? Or is it bareboned and leaky, ready to collapse at the first shift in barometric pressure? New Englanders like to say if you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes. The same rule holds true in business. Whatever weather your brand is braving today, the weather tomorrow will be at least slightly different. Make sure your basement doesn’t flood!

www.themichaeldbrown.com

Why Not Give Birth to a Great Brand?

Spring is traditionally associated with birth. Of course babies are born all year long, but as the snow melts and the grass turns green and flowers bloom, understandably people’s minds turn to birth and new beginnings. Traditional spring events such as weddings and graduations could also be considered “births” of a sort, as new families, lives and careers come into existence.

Okay, enough schmaltz. All kidding aside, I do mention spring as a season of birth for a specific reason – spring is the perfect time to give birth (or rebirth) to a happy, bouncy, healthy new brand! Even when the economy is good, winter is a tough time to launch a brand. Hiring is slow, bad weather and the financial impact of holiday shopping has potential clients and customers hunkered down, and many people take vacations to warmer, sunnier climes. A new or rejuvenated brand may get obscured by the dull, gray background.

But as the days grow longer and people’s spirits lighten, the environment becomes much more receptive to the launch of a new brand. Typically, hiring improves in the spring as companies firm up their plans for the coming year and general business activity picks up. Unfortunately, 2009 is not a “typical” year. Unemployment is expected to continue climbing for the next several months, even as some experts are predicting the worst of the recession is over and we should start to see gradual improvement by the second half of the year.

Rather than let continuing economic woes pressure you into postponing the birth of your new brand, use them as an incentive to get that new brand out of gestation and into the world. Use this slow period as an opportunity to nurture your new brand beyond the infant and toddler stages so that by the time things do really start picking up, your bouncing bundle of joy is now a strapping young adult, ready to strike out and define itself. Everyone else who waited till the recession ended (or at least bottomed out) to give births to their new brands will be competing against you with “baby brands” – cute and fun, but not capable of doing much and a lot of work to maintain and nourish. If you ever have been or known a new parent, you are aware of how draining caring for a baby can be!

So give birth to your new brand, sooner rather than later. Even if your existing brand is well-defined and mature, it would hardly hurt to add some youthful flourish and energy to what you have. With a little TLC, you will be able to proudly watch that baby grow and take credit for its accomplishments – just like a real parent, without the crying and talking back!

www.themichaeldbrown.com

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