Category: Measuring Results


Last night, I was talking with my brother and he mentioned how the story of Apple and its brand awareness was amazing. I immediately related the Apple brand success to the relationship that the company has with their employees. I haven’t researched this, but I am willing to create a theory on the success of the Apple brand. I believe that if the Apple employees were not as excited and bought into the Apple products and ultimately, the Apple brand, Apple would not be the household name that it is nor would d Apple have developed such a following. Think about it. Let’s say that Apple created an environment of creativity and innovation. They made sure that every member of the Apple team thoroughly understood and believed in the mission of the company. That same Apple employee who is working on a new product starts talking to their family and friends about this great product that is coming out, then, the friends and family share the same excitement with their other friends and family. Suddenly, everyone had to have it. This excitement all began with the internal relationship that Apple built with each team member.

This is an example of the direct correlation between relationships and success, whether personal or professional. Branding doesn’t exist without relationship, positive or negative. A company you don’t like because of a poor product or bad customer service has a brand that makes them unsuccessful because remember, a brand is simply a perception. The practice of developing positive relationships seems to have become rare commodities. It seems in our desire to attain what we think we need to be strong and sustainable in our life, we’ve unconsciously returned to the days of very mechanistic behavior. This has been to the detriment of building positive, honest brands.

For this reason, Brand Event Marketing (BEM) is launching a new company called Branding Katina (sound familiar).  After years of strategic brand development and even applying those practices to my own life, I realized the importance of the relationship and how so many don’t perceive this nor do they know how to develop and maintain positive relationships. As Managing Director of Brand Event Marketing, I want to change that behavior, one client at a time. Branding Katina will teach the behaviors of successful internal and external relationships, while continuing to do what BEM is known for, developing successful brand strategies.

As you read this, I hope that you consider your own personal and professional relationships. Are they what you need them to be? Are they providing you the support and knowledge to continue to move forward and be proud of who you are? Do the people around you know what you stand for? Do you know what your company stands for? Are you proud of the work your company does? Let me know. I’d love to hear about it. Let’s start building that positive, successful relationship.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to sit down and write this blog. Let me fill you in on where I’ve been and how my life path seems to have been altered.

When I believe in something, I am very passionate about it. I am passionate about my personal relationships, about my work and about my social beliefs.  In 2011, I realized I needed to stand up for what I felt was the right direction for my country. I, without really thinking about it, applied  to become a Fellow for the Obama campaign and wouldn’t you know, I was chosen to be a Fellow in September 2011. This became my life for the next 15 months. I was asked to be a Field Organizer for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in Raleigh, Wake County, NC. During that time I was pushed harder than I ever have been in the past, asked to think in a way that was foreign to me and work with the most diverse group of people ever placed in front of me. Throughout this time, I often realized that I was being challenged to focus on who I was and what I believe in. What issues were important to me and how much influence I had on the future and what people believed in.

Sitting here now, I couldn’t be more proud of myself. With laser focus, I became the Field Organizer that I wanted to be. I understood my goals, developed strategy to meet them and built the right talent around me to develop a strong and successful team. Normally, I wouldn’t give myself so much credit – in fact, I am known for being pretty humble and I still am, but I also learned that part of my humility was actually fear. Fear of not wanting to seem too confident or too strong-willed. Those are not bad attributes, but as a woman, society makes us think they are bad characteristics for us. However, I know being a Field Organizer in Wake County was the right fit for me for the last year and a half because now, I am ready to accept who I am and what I can provide to my clients. I provide strength, strategic knowledge, an amazing amount of tenacity, and a will that will not accept no as a final answer. I also have grown in my understanding of how people should and want to be treated and how important relationships are, whether for five minutes or 20 years. This growth has helped me redefine the direction of Brand Event Marketing and how Brand Event develops, maintains and teaches how to build relationships at different levels.

So many of us are held from reaching our goals and acting out our dreams because we are afraid to push and say this is what I deserve. Well, no more for me and throughout this journey, I hope no more for you as well. Let’s take control of what we receive and no longer accept less than we deserve.

Many have asked what I will do next. I had to take some time to muddle through my foggy, unorganized thoughts to come up with the answer. What I will do next is what I do best. I will build and grow my strategic marketing company. I will teach companies the connection between doing what is right for their employees is in turn doing what is right for their external customers. I will use my ability to truly understand and solve a problem to maximize profits for my clients. This will all be done through the lens of doing the right thing. So, I’m interested, are you doing the right thing? As a decision maker, are you putting people first? As a person, are you demanding what you deserve, in a respectful, strategic way? If the answer is no, let me know and Brand Event Marketing will teach you how to make it right.

Recently, I had a conversation with a peer about the issue of people being resistant to change. They like their routine, their way of doing things and when we, as brand strategists or change agents, get involved, not everyone is ready to do their part. This caused me to start thinking about change and why we are sometimes against it. I know that I have a certain way of doing things and if that is disrupted, I can quickly lose my place. But within the big picture of the work environment, it seems change is the everyday constant. When you begin your day, you never know what is going to happen and in a work environment, the bottom line is to stay relevant and to grow. Growth is such a trigger word right now, yet, it seems people would like to receive the growth without dealing with the change. Now, don’t get me wrong, just as Ellen Glasgow said, “All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” But growth is defined as a stage of development; therefore, to mature and become better, you must grow and to grow you must change.

Change is not necessarily easy and can seem to require more work, even if the workload is the same, but  just a shift in process can difficult. I believe this is why so many struggle with change, but in a world that is growing smaller everyday, change is now the standard, not the variable. We all must shift our thinking to live in this world of ever-changing dynamics. But, as long as you know, understand and recognize your truth, then change can become a variant within what you know as your professional and personal roles.  Take time to be aware of what may change and how you can adapt to it. This is your time. Make change work for you, not against you.

This morning, I read an article arguing that small business owners should not focus on developing a brand, but on creating sales. In the article, “Trying to Create a Personal Brand? Unless You’re Steve Jobs, Stop.”,  Jeff Haden on bnet.com argues that:

Sales generate immediate profits and, possibly, will slowly build your brand.

http://www.bnet.com/blog/small-biz-advice/trying-to-create-a-personal-brand-unless-you-8217re-steve-jobs-stop/519?tag=content;drawer-container

I understand his goal, but I disagree with his statements. As a brand strategist, I am constantly asked to place value on the work that I do. Hence, this project called Branding Katina. By making the statement, “Sales generate immediate profits and, possibly, will slowly build your brand.” is saying that sales are simply people asking a question and receiving the answer that moves a service or product, removing the process of the initial interest of the customer and the conversation that begins based on the need and the possible solution to the need. Branding, in its simplest form, is a perception. If there is no perception, then there is no perceived solution to a problem, which is why people purchase a service or item. As it relates to personal branding, perception is why people choose you for certain jobs, ask your opinion on certain subjects, and ultimately, respect you as someone who fills a need. You cannot sell without the market’s belief that you will solve their problem, whether they are thirsty, hungry, or even confused about which way to go next. Everyone has a problem that requires a solution.

Jeff goes on to state that:

As a business owner, your employees and customers know you by your words and actions. Sure, you can adopt a look, develop a personal value proposition, and carefully manage your persona. Potential customers may be positively influenced.

But to the people you see every day, no amount of personal branding will ever offset the impact of your words and actions.

Ultimately, aren’t your words and actions the catalysts to other’s thoughts and beliefs about you? So, in essence, aren’t your words and actions the framework to your personal brand? Who you are is how people will respond to and treat you. As children, we are taught to be polite, saying please and thank you, respectful of our elders and learning as much as we can so that we can be at the front of the class. This, in turn, creates the environment in which the adults relate to the children, therefore, creating a brand. Remember when you were playing a team sport and the captains chose who was on their team? Those who were considered better game players were chosen first. See, a brand determined from a perception.

I recognize that most people equate branding with big logos, fancy fonts and taglines, but branding is so much simpler and an integral part of our communication process. You may know who you want to BE or even, who you are, but if no one else perceives that about you or your business, sales won’t happen. Nothing will happen.

Consistency is the key to your success. Do you believe that statement? I do. It has been proven that it takes 21 days to create a habit. In his book, Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz discusses how he realized that it took 21 days for amputees to no longer feel the  phantom sensations in an amputated limb.

(As a plastic surgeon), he also noticed that many of his customers retained a poor self image even after having surgery which improved their appearance. This prompted him to work with his clients’ self image prior to surgery, and he discovered that he could assist them to acquire an improved self image without surgery, using the same 21-day period to create changes in their mindset, and that surgery then became unnecessary for them.

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/786165.html

With this knowledge, we can look at our own actions and consider the question, how consistent are we and how does this consistency (or lack of) directly affect others perception of me? At work, do you say you are going to get a task completed by a certain date and then make excuses for why it is not on time? Do you say you are going to workout and you start out hard, then fizzle off after a few days? Are you always late or always early? Over the last few weeks, I’ve silently been reviewing relationships and the expectations that are placed on them and I realize that a large part of the expectation is consistency. Can I count on this person to do what they say they are going to do? We can even make this more simple, do I expect people to be kind to me, yet I am not kind to other people? Do I expect people to care about my wants, yet I am indifferent to theirs? I believe that consistency is truly at the crux of success, whether big or small, public or private. A long time ago, my mother taught me that you have to teach people how to treat you. Recognizing this, am I consistent in demanding certain behaviors around me? Consistency lends itself to results. If you are not getting the results that you want, are you consistent to your commitment? Don’t expect to have a lean body, if you’re not willing to work hard consistently to get it. Don’t expect to get clients/customers if you don’t consistently promote your business. In my line of work, people are always looking for grand results, but they are not always willing to commit to the consistency that it takes to get those results. Are you looking for a new job or career change? In today’s economy, it’s easy to just sit back and focus on all of the negative aspects of your situation, but you will never get the job/career that you want if you are not consistent with your search.

Today, as I look at my own commitments and my consistency, I challenge you to do the same thing. What areas are you not getting the ROI that you expect, then look at the “I”, your investment and see if they match? Personal or professional, consistency is a key to your success and a huge part of your brand. Can you rely on yourself to be consistent in whatever is important to you? Then, go create that positive habit. If you need help, there is a great website, www.stickk.com that allows you to determine what habit you would like to create (or break) and gives you tools to be successful.