Tag Archive: job losses

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!


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


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!


1,223,993 Jobs cut in 2008

The 2008 recession dealt a hugh blow to the job market. According to outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas layoffs were up 275% in 2008 vs 2007.
Many analyst agree that this economic downturn could continue to wreak havoc on the job market through the first six months of 2009. Any hope of turning the tides is now dependent on the speed and robustness of the economic stimulus package that congress and the President-Elect is considering.
The job losses came from virtually all the major industry and job sectors.
Are you concernd about your job in 2009?
Do you have a back up plan in the event you are laid off?

You Know How Great You Are—Don’t Be Afraid to Tell the World!
From my earliest work experience as a child handyman for an overbearing, demanding woman who was virtually impossible to please, I have constantly promoted myself as a person who delivers top results in even the most challenging of circumstances. To help me develop a personal brand based on this ability, I created a methodology I call Fresh PASSION. This is a fresh approach to Preparing yourself, Aspiring to reach your goals, Staying laser-focused, Selling your value, Invigorating yourself, Omitting the negative, and Nailing the brand.

Selling like you are crazy means understanding your return on investment (ROI). You have confidence in your fullest potential, and you are constantly searching for new opportunities that will help you meet, and maybe even exceed that potential. These opportunities could come in the form of a new job, a promotion, an opportunity to run an extracurricular school club or event, or an award or other form of peer recognition. Whatever the opportunity may be; forget the advice about opportunity knocking. You have to go out knocking on doors, as many as you can find and at all times.

Now it’s time to let the world know who you are. You must convey what makes you different, distinctive, and competitive (i.e., your brand). This statement is your definition statement. You will use this during networking and interviews to alert your current company and the outside world, your customers, and potential and current employers about just how much value your brand truly provides.

Your statement has to be competitive internally to the organization, company, or business that you are in, as well as competitive externally to the marketplace. If you are an entrepreneur, your statement must inspire and maintain the respect of your employees; and even if you work as a solo contractor, you must develop a statement you truly believe in yourself! This is critical to gaining exponential personal and professional success internally while keeping you competitive on the open market, which provides you with the critical back-up plan in the event of downsizings, rightsizings, and economic slowdowns that may affect your current organization. In plain English, make sure your eggs can produce the world’s best omelet, no matter what basket they end up in.

So remember the three rules of sales: Sell, sell, sell! Aggressively pursue as many chances for face-to-face interactions with people who can help you reach your goals as possible. And sell with confidence. You must believe in the value you bring and what you can do for your sales prospect. Frauds always reveal themselves, whether in sales or in any other aspect of life.

Also remember that a closed mouth will starve you to death. You must passionately communicate both how great you are and how your greatness will spread throughout any organization you join if you want to dine on your aspirations.

Thus, by effectively communicating your message both verbally and non-verbally (this is where the confidence and sincerity you exude in every aspect of how you carry yourself comes in), you are arming yourself to solve the root cause of a large percentage of the potential situations that could damage your brand or limit your opportunities for success. Furthermore, considering how widespread communication problems are, imagine the competitive advantage you gain when you become one of the relatively few people who can truly communicate!

Sprint Nextel Corp.’s stock plunged Friday after the wireless carrier said it will cut 4,000 jobs and close 125 retail locations in response to a steep drop in its customer base.

Sprint shares plummeted nearly 25 percent, prompting analysts to forecast even more cuts in the coming months as the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier struggles to compete with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless.

The layoff of about 6.7 percent of Sprint’s work force and closure of 8 percent of its stores is to be completed in the first half of the year. Sprint said in a news release that the cuts will trim labor costs by $700 million to $800 million a year.

What do you think Sprint Nextel can do to fix their problem?:

A. Better service plans
B. More attractive phones
C. Improve customer service
D. Lower their prices