Tag Archive: marketing

I recently read an article discussing the art of the elevator speech and I began to wonder when was the last time I revamped my elevator speech. So, I’ll ask you, when was the last time you thought about your elevator speech? For clarity, an elevator speech is your description of who you are or what your company does. It should be short and to the point. A strong elevator speech should be between 30 seconds and two minutes and is just enough information to intrigue the listener.

Now, for a long time, most have believed that your elevator speech should be sing-songy and salesy, but that is exactly what you don’t want it to be. Nowadays, everybody thinks that someone is trying to sell them and have learned to stop listening as soon as they think they are being targeted. To avoid that as you present your elevator speech, you want to immediately catch their attention. You need a hook and a catch. Just a quick line to cause the listener to question the statement and engage in further conversation. What do you do that can be intriguing to the listener? For example, an IT analyst may say “I cause your thoughts to become a reality.” Once the listener asks, “How so?”, you then move on to the catch. “I evaluate and solve your technical problems, while helping you to better understand (and love) your device.”

An elevator speech is not the tool used to sell, it is the tool used to engage. You have a brand because you solve a problem. By effectively using an elevator speech, you quickly explain what problem you (or your company) solves and then, easily begin a networking conversation. Regardless of your stage in your personal and professional life, you need an elevator speech. Take a few minutes and think about yours. I bet you’ll use it sooner than you think.

Let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear about your fabulous elevator speech.


I think many would agree that communication is the key to our professional and personal success. If we communicate effectively, then expectations are noted, processes are created and action is begun. However, if we do not communicate effectively, it is easy for goals to be missed, feelings to be hurt and most importantly, a brand damaged. Since we know that a brand is the perception of who you are, ineffective communication can play a larger role in our lives than we would expect.

A friend told me about an incident that happened recently to him. After he taught a training class, he was speaking with a colleague and people just walked up and asked their questions with no regard for the conversation that was going on.  They just interrupted the conversation. As the two attempted to continue their conversation, another (very new) employee walked up to my friend, who is considered an expert in his department and told him that he knew nothing and was doing everything wrong. She went on to say that she would no longer be asking the subject expert questions, but relying on someone who is knowledgeable. but not an expert. Now, in that scenario, we have two communication issues. The first is the fact that there was no regard for the conversation that my friend and his colleague was having. That immediately shows a lack of respect as well as only a concern about self. Second, there is a better way to speak to someone and if you’re not sure how, the best solution is to pause before you open your mouth. The first set of people will simply be considered rude and green in their roles. The second person has more permanently damaged her brand. Now, when the expert sees or considers her for other projects, he will remember this incident. He will consider her inexperienced, unprofessional and not worthy of his placing any expectations on her. She has possibly sabotaged herself, in regard to her growth in her work environment.

These two incidents show how your brand can quickly be damaged through ineffective communication. You work hard at developing and defining your personal brand. Don’t let  a few inadvertent statements reverse your hard work. Today, take a second and review your communication skills. Are they as strong as you think they are? How do others react to your communication tactics? Are you destroying your brand through what may be perceived as ineffective communication?

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.


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.

A few weeks ago, I discussed some ideas to promote yourself through online social media. Today, I want to take a few minutes and discuss a common branding process. It will help you develop a plan to better understand how others view you and how to create a brand strategy from the current perspective. In brand development, there is a document/process called the SWOT analysis. SWOT is a landscape analysis and stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The first two, SW, are internal and the last two, OT, are external.When you are beginning to determine a plan for a venture, whether business or personal, it is important to recognize all of the factors that will affect your venture.

In developing a SWOT analysis, it is best to create a chart that looks like this:

This way, you can visually see the good and the bad, so to speak. As you decide what to place in each area, remember these guidelines:

  • Strengths: characteristics of yourself that gives you an advantage over others or simply, makes you standout from others.
  • Weaknesses: are characteristics that place you at a disadvantage relative to others.
  • Opportunities: external chances to increase your ability to meet your goals.
  • Threats: external elements in the environment that could cause trouble for your goals.

Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis

So, for example, an early client of mine wanted to expand her home baking business into a full business that would eventually support her financially. To first determine if this was a viable option for her, Brand Event Marketing developed a SWOT analysis for her.

Creating a SWOT analysis to determine the route of your personal goals is a productive and thorough way to begin creating your brand. After you finish the analysis, let me know who you want to BE and how you’re going to get there.

…Because ultimately, that is why I am here. As I consider this question, the easy answer is I can help people brand themselves. If there is one thing I am passionate about (and now that I think about it, have been passionate about it ever since I was little) is how people present themselves to create the reality that they want. In my life, I have seen and even been the recipient of good and bad outcomes based on other people’s perceptions. One of the issues that I deal with regularly is the idea that I am not an expert in my professional field or really any field. I am constantly challenged and it isn’t until I speak a certain way and determine a solution for what seemed like a difficult problem or successfully manage a multi-level project that suddenly, I am a strong brand strategist or very creative brand marketer. Since this is a challenge for me to overcome, I can only imagine how many people are dealing with determining their own brand daily. Those who know me best know that I am very confident, even cocky sometimes. I am kind, but I am firm and I definitely have very strong opinions. This is my brand. This is who I am. I dress a certain way. I speak a certain way. I socialize a certain way. Quite frankly, there isn’t much spontaneity in my behavior, but I am like a piece of metal, quite malleable. This allows me to be a good friend, a good employer and employee, a good family member and a good girlfriend. Overall, a good person. I am aware of my personal brand, but it is my job everyday to convince others of that. When I walk into a room, am on a conference call, or am teaching a webinar, there is a particular perception that I expect people to have when they see and hear me.  Therefore, helping others create their “market’s” perception about them and their personal product is how I can best help people. How can you best help people? What perception will your brand create and what steps are you taking daily to create your brand?

Where am I?

I had the best of intentions when I first decided to write this blog last year and then life happens. Projects occur, family and friends have needs and it’s easy to forget about what you need, which turns into neglecting yourself and not developing yourself into what you want to be. Well, here I am again, almost on the eve of my birthday and it’s time to restart this process. I determined, when I decided to begin writing this, that I was going to discuss how my day to day actions encouraged or halted my brand image. So, I am back on track. My birthday is in five days and I am so excited, but so very tired, as well. We are going away and I cannot wait, but let’s talk about today.

Today, I continued to work on a job that has taken me a great deal of energy to complete. I had to try hard to find my own motivation. I motivated myself by realizing that I have a purpose. Today was full of prayer and hope that all will be ok and that everything is as it should be. Today, only minor actions defined my personal brand. I worked hard and went the extra step to provide quality in a project, met with a client that needed a bit more attention than normal and answered questions as best I could. What does that say about my brand? Maybe that I’m resourceful, patient, and knowledgeable. What did your actions today say about your brand?