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Valerie

6 Thoughts to Remember as Your Brand Blossoms

Seedling

It’s hard to believe, but May is almost here…and summer isn’t too far behind. I remember the rhyme from my school days: “April showers bring May flowers.” While my part of the world wasn’t too rainy this past month, we’re beginning to see Mother Nature’s colorful spring bouquet everywhere we look.

It’s also exciting to see the pace of business picking up in many areas that have been in hibernation through the winter. So now’s the time to cultivate prospects, spread the seed of your brand in new areas, and prepare for a bountiful harvest.

When you’re ready for your business to blossom and prosper, there’s no doubt about it—you’ll need to continue working diligently. In the meantime, here are some thoughts to use along the way:

#1 ~ Keep Learning. “I am learning all the time.  The tombstone will be my diploma.”  ~Eartha Kitt

Successful people are curious and driven to continue learning. Those who stop learning become archaic. Continue to hone your skills and immerse yourself in learning. When you reach success in any area, stretch further to become even more of an expert. Strong brands are known for their niche.

#2 ~ Keep Marketing. The sole purpose of marketing is to sell more to more people, more often and at higher prices. There is no other reason to do it.” ~Sergio Zyman

If you stop marketing, your traffic and leads will soon end. Through continuous marketing you will continue to generate leads, and you’ll stay on the cutting edge. It takes lots of prospects in the funnel before any ONE comes out at the other end. Keep your funnel full!

#3 ~ Keep Branding. “It’s not what you do once in a while; it’s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference.” ~Jenny Craig

Networking and branding should be on-going. Learn to manage your online reputation and develop stronger relationships with your clients through your online identity. Use social marketing and business tools to help you manage this. Proactive reputation management is vital for a positive professional presence.

#4 ~ Keep Investing. “I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars; I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.” ~Warren Buffett

Investing in the success of your business will bring great dividends. There are many different things you can do to increase your presence, build relationships, and boost conversion rates. Consider upgrading technology, buying a smart phone, investing in tools to improve your productivity, hiring a virtual assistant, etc.

#5 ~ Keep On Planning. “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” ~Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog

Successful business people do more than just amble along. They set goals and strategize ways to increase market share, improve reputation, create viral buzz, and generate referrals. How will you grow your empire and make plans that will help you reach your goals? Complacency will eventually result in a declining income and can lead to loss of passion for the business.

#6 ~ PASSION & REWARDS. “Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.” ~Carl W. Buechner

Do something you love. Be excited about what each day could bring. Incent yourself to succeed. When you reach your goals, reward yourself and then start thinking about the next milestone you want to reach! (I reward myself with a piece of chocolate!)

 

 

That’s My Voice: What’s yours?
Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

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Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate.
Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

“Monday Morning Leadership for Women is a treasure of timely insights and action plans that can advance any woman. It’s terrific!”

~ Candace O’Keefe -Executive Director, Leadership America, Inc.

 

 

Little Things Make a Big Difference as You Exude Your Brand

Magnify Brand

It’s often the little things that can derail us and cause “brand busters.” For example: 

If you are dressed to perfection but use profanity in the office – it’s a brand buster!
If you have a leadership position but have not updated your clothing style – it’s a brand buster!
If you have it all going for you but have bad breath – it’s a brand buster!
If you wear the latest style without the latest hair style – it’s a brand buster!
If you have gained or lost weight but still wear the same clothing – it’s a brand buster!
If you’re the team lead that overachieves but you take all the credit – it’s a brand buster!
If you walk into a room with poise but wear scuffed shoes – it’s a brand buster!
If you greet someone with a handshake but it’s wimpy – it’s a brand buster!
If you have a sense of style but wear too much cologne or perfume – it’s a brand buster!

You Say So Much Before You Say a Word.  

As you consider evolving your brand, consider what research tells us about the judgments that people make about you the moment they meet you – before you say a word:

How much education you’ve had
How much you can be trusted
How dependable and accountable you are
How intelligent you are
What your work ethic is
Your personality style and how agreeable you are
How much money you make
How confident you are

So just as my book says, “Do It Right!” Your brand represents your whole package – how you look, how you act, how you are – authentically!

That’s My Voice: What’s yours?
Let me hear your wisdom and I’ll send you a free article I wrote for SW Spirit Magazine

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Light bulb

Find out more about my books here:

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate.
Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

3 Tips for Getting Your Brand Noticed

Stand out

Every one of you have a brand worthy of notice. But how do you show it in a way that is true to your values and authentic to who you are? Here are a few tips:

1 – Take a stand! Give your opinion! Have a voice!

Earlier in my career, I was concerned that I might come across too pushy. That is just not my style. The problem is that by saying less, I was being perceived as “being less.” In other words, people didn’t see me as an expert – not until I learned to have a leader’s voice! If you believe in something, let others know and stand by that belief.

2 – Stay positive, even when you don’t feel positive.

It does more harm than good to bad mouth others; especially your competition. As my grandmother used to say, “If you can’t say something positive, don’t say anything.” Author, William Arruda, is a good example of someone who practices this unconditionally. I’ve yet to hear one negative word come out of his mouth…and that makes his credibility as a brand guru all that much more credible. Practice the trends in his Personal Branding Trends for 2014 and watch your brand evolve!

3 – Persist and never give up.

The economy may be faltering. The market may be harder to penetrate. And that means you are only one step further to reaching your goals. Keep on, keeping on. If you stay authentic to who you are and what’s important to you, strong relationships will form and business will come.

And that’s where I stand!!!!

That’s my voice – What’s yours?
Send your thoughts!

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Light bulb

Find out more about my books here:

 

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate.
Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

 

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

“Monday Morning Leadership for Women is a treasure of timely insights and action plans that can advance any woman. It’s terrific!”

~ Candace O’Keefe -Executive Director, Leadership America, Inc.

 

What’s Your Brand Purpose?

BRAND

As I recently read All In by Mark Batterson, I was touched by the beginning paragraph. Mark recounts that in the sixteenth century Copernicus, the Renaissance astronomer, argued that the earth revolves around the sun, rather than just the opposite as others had believed. He went on to say that today each one of us needs to have a paradigm shift in terms with the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around us. When we are born – we are the center of attention. But as we mature some still act as if we ARE the center of the universe.

So as I put my goals together for 2014, I’m reminded that it should NOT be “just about me.” Rather, I am asking once again “what is the purpose of my life and my work?” If I’m honest (which I am with you, my loyal readers)…. I must give myself weekly to-dos that keep me focused on PURPOSE.

As for goals, in order to reach them I must have clarity around what they look like, how they will be measured and how I will know I’ve achieved them. When I have that clarity, then and only then can I prioritize and communicate my brand to those people who can help me achieve my goals.

This may sound like old hat. Well, it isn’t. It’s just common sense that we all should take time to revisit again and again.

 

That’s my voice – What’s yours?
Send your thoughts!

Valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Light bulb

Find out more about my books here:

 

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate.
Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

 

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

“Monday Morning Leadership for Women is a treasure of timely insights and action plans that can advance any woman. It’s terrific!”

~ Candace O’Keefe -Executive Director, Leadership America, Inc.

 

Do You Want Your Brand to be Everything to Everybody?

Target Audience

 

I’ve known business owners who wanted nothing more than to capture 100 percent of the market. Really? Yes, they thought 100 percent market share equaled success.

However, there’s nothing that dilutes a brand faster than being all things to all people. It’s not possible and it’s a toxic expectation for any business – because any brand that creates customer passion is, by its own definition, not for everyone.

Recently I came upon a product from an online beverage firm, specializing in chai drinks and latte mixes. It was love at first sip!

Shortly after we had finished our first cup, I was at my computer, looking for the company where I could order more of this amazing drink…and was shocked to see how “niche-y” the company was. Nothing but chai and latte products.

But it made perfect sense! By specializing in products that, indeed, created passion among their customers, this company could focus on what it does best…finding products for people who enjoy a daily cup of chai or latte to create an “experience.” No, the company offered nothing else, just chai and latte mixes…but their brand had tremendous impact because it established an identity “at first sip”.

In other words, they had defined their customer by simply carrying a small sliver of the beverage product spectrum. If they had attempted to be everything to everybody, this brand would have had no identity and no customer loyalty.

It’s a brand strategy worth considering. Know your product – know your target audience – and be all you can be to that specific demographic. Then, build your brand by focusing on your niche in the marketplace. If you build your brand,  – your passionate customers – will come! Tweet this

 

Post your comments and e-mail me. I’ll respond personally.

Until next time,

Valerie

 

Find out more about my books here:

 

Do It Right!

“Do it right in the presence you exude. Do it right in how you communicate.
Do it right in how you demonstrate a strong personal brand. Do it right in how you look, act, walk, talk and ARE from the inside out. Valerie’s tips will build your self-confidence knowing you can Do It Right.”

do-it-right-3d

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

Monday Morning Leadership for Women

MMLW 3D

“Monday Morning Leadership for Women is a treasure of timely insights and action plans that can advance any woman. It’s terrific!”

~ Candace O’Keefe -Executive Director, Leadership America, Inc.

 

Enhance Your Online Presence

 

Social Media Trends 2014.jpg

There are more social media resources than ever today.  And in 2014, you must have a positive online presence so that you stand out from the crowd. Here’s a valuable list of 2104 social media trends taken from Frederic Gonzalo and Social Media Today.  

1. Tweet Tweet- Many users are leaving Facebook if the sometimes-difficult platform is not working in their branding efforts whereas Twitter is making changes that may spark new interest. Since Twitter has gone public, changes to the platform = big opportunities for brands.  Ads and product redesign means more tools for you to leverage and increase visibility. Follow me.

2. Are you Linked In?- If you’re not, it’s time to get on the bandwagon! LinkedIn is #1 social media site for professionals. With over 200 million users and advantages such as the Influencers program; build your online presence, network, and share content if you want your piece of the LinkedIn pie. It’s the place to be for building B2B relationships. Let’s Connect.

3. Hangout with Google +- Some experts say that Google may or may not be a key place to get social. But chances are that it is. With over 500 million users and popular tools like Google Hangouts, a live way to interact with your audience, there’s opportunity to expand your presence farther.  With Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm, adding Google + to your social media strategy may positively impact your SEO efforts.

4. Tell stories, make videos- Whether you prefer YouTube, Vine, or Instagram, videos will be huge in 2014.  An engaging video is a compelling and efficient way to put your brand in front of your audience. Any of those apps are a quick way to tell a story and engage your people in this fast-paced world in which we live. A good story sticks. They’ll never forget you!

There will be even more  information on 2014 trends in our upcoming February Newsletter by personal branding guru William Arruda . Watch for his 2014 Trend Report  next month.

What are some of your favorite sites? Let us know and we’ll add them to our list!

Post your comments and e-mail me. I’ll respond personally.

Until next time,

Valerie

Find out more about my books here:

 

do-it-right-3d

 

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. They are the foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

 

MMLW 3D

 

“Monday Morning Leadership for Women is a treasure of timely insights and action plans that can advance any woman. It’s terrific!”

~ Candace O’Keefe -Executive Director, Leadership America, Inc.

 

Is Your Brand Getting Burned?

Burnout is common! There is more work to do and fewer resources to get it done. Here are a few points I made on KTXD-TV as their guest Leadership Excellence expert. Host Courtney Kerr and I discussed ways to avoid burnout.

Burned out

Leadership must care.

  • Leaders must believe in their employees’ well-being. That starts with taking care of themselves. Leaders should model the ability to be successful and productive without working all hours(Tweet). It’s important to unwind periodically, take vacations (without checking in all the time) and have a life outside of work.
  • Leaders should not require last minute deadlines that force people to work late or on weekends.

Prioritize your deliverables.

  • Know what is MOST important to get done in your day – according to your boss and his or her expectations. As the saying goes, “What’s important is what important people think is important.” Get done the “have to do’s” and don’t get caught up in the “nice to do’s.”
  • There’s no such thing as perfect balance of life and work; however, strive to take time for your family and friends. Work without play is no fun!

Create boundaries for yourself.

  • Decide (that’s a choice) that for the most part you WILL walk out of the office at the close of your day. If your boss gives you an unreasonable last minute request, be willing to say no politely, but firmly. Consider saying, “I’m sorry I can’t meet this deadline and I’ll get working on it. I can have it for you by (fill in the blank).”

 

For more on burnout – check out these links:

Forget Work Life Balance – Seven Paradigm Shifts for The New 24/7 Normal
4 Signs You Are Headed For Burnout

 

Do you need tips on avoiding burnout? How do you find balance?  Post your comments and e-mail me. I’ll respond personally.

Until next time,

Valerie

  Find out more about my books here:

do-it-right-3d

 

“Business leaders refer to communications, teamwork, and etiquette as “the soft skills.” They are not the soft skills if they can get you fired. Etiquette is a foundation of business relationships, and nothing happens in business until there is a relationship. This book fills an important gap in the education of new and seasoned professionals.”

~Tom Trotter-IBM Executive & Community Leader

 

 

MMLW 3D

 

“Monday Morning Leadership for Women is a treasure of timely insights and action plans that can advance any woman. It’s terrific!”

~ Candace O’Keefe -Executive Director, Leadership America, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 EASY WAYS FOR YOUR BRAND TO SUCCEED AT ANYTHING IN 2014

 

u success

It’s hard to read minds…or to know what a client or co-worker is really thinking. Here are five habits you can develop that will not only be noticed, but will help your brand succeed with just a little bit of effort in 2014.

1. Be prompt! - When you think about it, there are 20 minutes between success and failure. You show up 10 minutes before work and people will think you love your job, you’re motivated, and a go-getter. But if you show up 10 minutes late to a meeting, a lunch, or a conference, everyone will think you’re a slacker. It is only 20 minutes of time that can make or break you. So wake up 20 minutes earlier tomorrow and get to work early!

2. Keep your mouth shut! - People who cause or thrive on drama, insult or disrespect others won’t last long…ANYWHERE. One easy way to succeed is to not say anything negative about your other clients, your company, church, Toastmaster’s chapter…whatever. Learn to listen, find genuine reasons to compliment others and you’ll succeed.

3. Meet deadlines! - I call these “drop deadlines.” If something is due Friday, get it done by Thursday, Friday at the latest. Don’t ask for an extension or make excuses about being late. Get the job done on time.

4. Under promise and over deliver! - Always go above and beyond. Don’t do the minimum for any job. Look for ways to excel and do more than what’s expected.

5. Look good and follow the rules! – Remember how you made fun of the dweeb who was such a stickler for the rules. He or she is probably higher up the ladder than you expected. The message here is be well-dressed and well-groomed when you go to work. If your client has a lot of rules, know and follow them. Don’t be the individual who consistently breaks all the rules. If you have an issue with a rule, discuss it. Don’t just decide to break it because you don’t like it. The old saying, “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to seek permission” may be clever, but definitely not one to live by. Whoever said it the first time probably got fired soon after.

 

How do you plan to make 2014 a successful year?  Post your comments and e-mail me. I’ll respond personally.

Until next time,

Valerie

 

To learn more about my services visit Valerie&Company

Find out more about my books here:

doitrightbookMMLW Cover

 

Subscribe to Valerie’s Voice Monthly Newsletter

 

 

 

Let Your Professional Presence Be Socially Graceful

champagne

 

Along with this season come lots of opportunities to show that you know what to do and say in social situations. Here are a few tips taken from my book: Corporate Protocol.

 

TIPS FOR THE GOOD GUEST

  1. Your actions are being observed, so use your best manners at all times. It’s just not cool to drink too much and say or do something that could be harmful to your brand.
  2. As a guest during social dinners, table hopping is not appropriate during a business meal. And as a guest, never complain about anything at a meal, even if there is mold growing on your ice cold steak. As a guest, graciously accept your meal rather than complain, for example, that your steak is either too rare or well done.
  3. Loud conversations and laughter can disturb other people in the restaurant. Have a good time, but do it quietly.
  4. Meal time is not cell phone time. Turn it off. Period.

TIPS FOR THE GOOD HOST

  1. When taking a client to a restaurant, be sure you select one that is conducive to your entertaining needs. If you want to discuss business, make sure that it has a quiet setting. And go either before or just after peak meal times.
  2. Decide the seating arrangement before you arrive at the restaurant. (The guest of honor sits to the right of the host…you).
  3. When you are escorted to the table, have your guest(s) follow the maître d’hôtel. Guest of honor first, then the rest of the group, first the women, then the men. However, if you have a large number of guests, you should follow the maître d’hôtel, so you can conveniently see that all of your guests are seated according to your plan.
  4. Give your guest(s) a cue regarding the courses your budget will allow. If price is not a problem, you could say, “let’s try something special today.” If you need to keep the price moderate, you could mention some options on the menu within the price range you have to spend.
  5. Wait until your guests are served before you begin eating.

 

Did you enjoy our post? Post your comments and e-mail me. I’ll respond personally.

Send your emails here!

Until next time,

Valerie

 

To learn more about my services visit Valerie&Company

Find out more about my books here:

doitrightbookMMLW Cover

 

Subscribe to Valerie’s Voice Monthly Newsletter

 

 

 

Don’t Let This Ruin Your Brand’s Reputation

poor serviceIt was unbelievable what happened! This is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. I simply have to share how a great company brand was dissed by the employee serving us.

While attending a recent workshop out of town, a colleague and I headed for a quiet lunch at a nearby “respectable” hotel. No one was in the restaurant at 12:00 noon. That should have been my first clue.

We ordered our sandwiches, ate them (still the lone customers), and were ready to get our check. Alas – no server could be found. That should have been my second clue.

After waiting ten minutes, I left the table in search of our waiter. At the checkout, I was told the waiter was nowhere to be found, but she would help me if I told her what we had ordered. The next comment floored me – “Are you staying at the hotel?” Our computers have been down since this morning and we’ll have to bill this to your room or take cash only.”

“No,” I said. “We came from across the street at a workshop. And I need to put this on my AMEX card.”

With a feigned smile, she replied, “You’ll have to give me your AMEX number and I’ll have to run it later.” UGH.

Needless to say, I did NOT give her my AMEX number and we walked out of the restaurant in a quandary wondering why the waiter had not given us that information in the first place. Had she “assumed” we had cash? Had she “hoped” we were guests of the hotel? The ending was the worst part. She argued over why I would not give her my AMEX number without her being able to give us a receipt.

serviceTake a look around at the policies of your company, the actions of your employees, and the lack of respect that might be given to your customers or clients. It’s amazing how one person or one glitch that goes wrong can ruin the reputation of your brand.

Let’s leave on a positive note. Let me hear from you any good examples of customer service that exceeded your expectations. We‘ll applaud them with you.

 

 

 

Do you like our post? Post your comments and e-mail me. I’ll respond personally.

Send your emails here!

Until next time,

Valerie

 

To learn more about my services visit Valerie&Company

Find out more about my books here:

doitrightbookMMLW Cover

 

Subscribe to Valerie’s Voice Monthly Newsletter

 

 

 

Valerie Sokolosky

Valerie Sokolosky

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