Why There Is No Need For Cruz Control

I was a little behind the eight ball this week in writing my article, but I’m glad I waited. I want to share a perspective you might find helpful in building a POWERFUL BRAND. It occurred to me watching the Republican convention last night on television.

I’m not a die-hard follower of politics, but I like to be informed and it certainly is entertaining and educational to watch the circus of a presidential election.

In case you didn’t hear, last night Ted Cruz got booed on stage during his speech because he refused to endorse Trump for president. It was a crazy, bold move. Pretty shocking to every, everyone that is except for Trump.

Apparently, Trump had read the transcript the night before and knew what Cruz was going to say. He had the option to ban Cruz from speaking, but that’s not what he did. Instead, he let Cruz take the stage and completely sabotage himself.

Now whether you like him or not, whether you think he’s an insane megalomaniac or not, there is something very important to be learned here from what Trump did. He was so secure in his brand, he allowed a hater to take the stage. It was a brilliant move.

What would have happened if he had ban him? It would have given Cruz POWER. It would have implied he was important enough Trump needed to manage him to protect his reputation. However, because Trump let Cruz take the stage, he strengthened his position as top dog.

I’m sharing this because it is an excellent example of stepping into leadership.

When you are secure in yourself, in your value and have confidence in your point of view, you position yourself ABOVE the haters.

So many times our temptation is to get caught in the fray of snarkiness, and while there ARE times it’s necessary to set the record straight, giving credence to critics only lowers your status.

You are far bettered served to keep your focus on the prize and to continually strengthen your own brand through giving value, increasing visibility, refining your message, polishing your image and showing you are a leader who comes with a heart of service.

If you need help solidifying your position as an industry leader and upleveling your brand, you can apply for a free strategy session with me by clicking here=>bit.ly/ProfitStrategy

Until next time, here’s to hitting all your high notes.



P. S. This is not an meant as any kind of political endorsement, simply an example of great brand strategy:)

The Importance Of Intentional Personal Branding

Don’t look now, but your brand is following you.

When most people hear the word brand it conjures up names like Nike, Apple or Coca-Cola, but brands are not just for corporations. They are for people too and not only for the likes of Oprah or Kim Kardashian. Each one of us has our own unique brand.

For all we hear about brands, however, a lot of people are still not totally clear on what a personal brand is or why it’s important. Don’t be fooled, your personal brand is critical if you want to create a fulfilling career. It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, a corporate executive or a government employee; personal brand management is one of the most important jobs you have on your journey to success.

So what exactly is a personal brand? In short, it is your reputation. Your brand is comprised of everything about you, your expertise, personality, work ethic, the way you dress and even the way you communicate. Basically, it’s everything you put out into the world that represents who you are. However, that’s only half of the equation. The other half is the perception of you held in the minds of your audience. If that audience is your boss or a potential client you can see why it’s so important to be thoughtful about your personal brand management.

People make assumptions and judgements about each other all the time. You want to be sure the assumptions people make about you are the ones you want them to make. You want to have as much influence as possible on the perception others have of you. Cruise control works for cars, but is detrimental to careers. You want to be in the driver’s seat of your brand.

There is a misconception out there that personal brand management is about putting on a shiny, fake veneer to impress or intimidate your audience. This is a false interpretation. It is instead acting with a clear and focused intention so you can reach your potential in a way that make you feel excited and grounded in who you. It is expressing your best, most authentic self in a way that is alignment with your goals.

Of course, you want to impress people, but you want to do it from a place of integrity and personal power and there are few things more empowering than having a clear and confident sense of who you are. The problem is, most people don’t know what they want and if they do know, they don’t know why they want it so they blithely go down a career plan that often leaves them feeling dissatisfied and frustrated.

We don’t want that to happen to you, so here are some key tips to keep in mind when thinking about your personal brand:

Clarity Is Key:

The first step to a powerful personal brand is awareness. You need to take the time and space to think about yourself. It may sound a bit “new-agey,” but it’s called a personal brand for a reason. This is about you, you career, your happiness.

No one can answer the questions to the deeper motivations for your brand better than you. When you do allow others to think for you, you give away your power and create a default brand that may not be in your best interest. You must give yourself permission to ponder the more thought provoking questions.

Here are few to get you started:

What do I care about?
What do I value?
What are my passions?
What are my unique strengths?
What kind of work am I doing when I feel most alive and empowered?
What kind of impact do I want to make in my field or even on society?
What do I want my career to look like 10 years from now?
What kind of environment or people do I want to be surrounded by?

This may not be something you can or should do in one sitting. These are big life questions, so be patient with yourself if the answers don’t immediately pop to mind. If you sit with them for a while, eventually what feels most true will gurgle to the surface.

Declare Your Position:

Once you’ve answered some of these questions, it’s time to decide what path you want to pursue and declare who you are in terms of how you want to be seen in pursuit of that path. This declaration can be in the form of a personal manifesto or simply statements made about who you that are sewn into your brand communications in places like your social media channels, professional bio, website copy or even in media interviews.

It may sound lofty, but making a declaration about who you are is very useful not only for you to define yourself, but also for those around you to be able to recognize, remember and most importantly, refer you. You begin to take up a unique space in the minds of your audience and differentiate yourself from the crowd.

By committing to a specific direction and point of view, you begin to refine and strengthen your position as a leader which then opens up more prestigious and profitable opportunities.

Remember, great brands are narrow and deep, not ambiguously wide and unfocused.

Take Consistently Aligned Actions:

Once you are clear on what you desire and have clearly articulated your unique value, you need to take action, but not just any action. From this point forward, you want to be sure your actions are in alignment with and accentuate your desired brand perception.

For example, if you want to be seen as C-suite material, you need to consistently look, act and sound like someone who could take on that role. Do you dress like a leader? Do you speak with confidence? Do you make bold and valuable contributions to your company? Does your professional bio paint a vivid picture of your expertise? Are you stepping up for leadership responsibilities?

If you are an entrepreneur, does your website have a clear message? Do you have good visual branding with your logo, fonts, colors etc.? Do you know how to communicate your unique value in a way that is immediately obvious to your potential clients? How do you show up on social media? You need to be consistent across all platforms.

These pieces either build or damage your brand equity. If you want to accelerate your success, you must create a clear, cohesive and consistent brand presence with everything you do professionally. It is a noisy world and if you want to stand out, you need to find and project your own unique voice and keep it out there long enough to get noticed.

Heather Poduska is a brand strategist, business coach and opera singer who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners create client attractive brands, polished brand images and brand communication strategies to increase their visibility and impact in the marketplace and grow their businesses. You can find out more about Heather by visiting her website at www.clearvoicebranding.com or connecting with her on social media at www.facebook.com/ClearVoiceBranding.

Magic Mike Path To Success

It’s hot out there and along with the high temps come the steamy summer box-office hits. This year Magic Mike XXL takes the cake, beef-cake that is. You have to be living under a rock not to know this sexy sequel is in theaters now. The pictures have been EVERYWHERE. (Hey, I’m not complaining!)

Now whether or not a male-stripper romp is your cup of tea, one thing you have to admit is those fellas are r-i-p-p-e-d. No one, not even Magic Mike himself gets washboard abs without extreme dedication and sacrifice.

We often overlook the hard work actors put into these roles when the final product is so campy. We only see them at press junkets and premiere parties and we think they have it sooo good.

The truth is, they do have it good. They’re living large, making a LOT of money, staying at the best hotels and rubbing shoulders with other smart, beautiful and creative people. However, success didn’t just fall into their laps, they made their own magic.

I read an interview in People Magazine recently with Channing Tatum and he talked about some of the challenges he had to overcome on his journey to Hollywood fame. In high school, he struggled with ADHD and dyslexia which made academics harder for him than most. He went to college, but ended up dropping out when he started getting modeling opportunities.

What Channing did however, that was wicked smart was he leaned into his strengths and KEPT TRYING.

“I was playing the lottery left and right, I just accidentally kept running into a winning ticket.”–People Magazine

Of course he kept running into a winning ticket! He kept putting himself in positions where he had the greatest chance of having his assets noticed and appreciated. One opportunity led to the next and eventually his momentum started snow-balling.

As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to look at industry leaders and envy their successes, but there’s no need. YOU can have massive wealth and recognition as well. It won’t be Easy-Street, but if you’re smart and persistent, you can make your own luck.

“Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.”–Seneca

Here are few tips to help get you center stage: [Read more…]

The Summer Of Desire

“The Summer of Desire” It sounds like a steamy romance novel and well, it is sort of… Or maybe I should say it could be. It could be YOUR sultry story.

As entrepreneurs we are hard-wired to be ambitious. It seems like every waking hour is dedicated to thinking about how to build our businesses. “How can I reach more clients? What products should I develop? What training course will help me get to the next level? Should I use Infusionsoft or Ontraport?” And the list goes on…

This may surprise you, but thinking too much can be detrimental to your success. Being overly analytical stymies creativity and leaves no room for the heart. Of course, you need strategy to stay on track and you need grit to get the work done, but all work and no romance leaves Jane a boring and mediocre fem-bot. What you need is a little intrigue. Oh, la, la!

Passion is the fuel for all great endeavors@HeatherPoduska (tweet this)

Passion takes your breath away. Passion gives your vision wings. Passion makes your feel alive.

Passion can also help you feel fully expressed when doing something you love. When you love what you do, your imagination can kicks in to high gear and you become wickedly innovative. That’s how great brands are birthed and fortunes made.

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all of its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of Light against its being; otherwise we all remain too frightened. -Hafiz

For many of us, the idea of leading a more passionate life sounds great, but we get stuck in our heads. We want more joy, but we don’t know how to access the part of ourselves that will lead to greater fulfillment. I’ll admit, even for the most enlightened pleasure-seekers, navigating a path to our molten core can be challenging in a world filled with iphones and incessant alerts. Thankfully, we have summer.

I invite you to take advantage of the heat and sun to allow your desires to percolate. Use this time to massage your deepest longings and give credence to their callings. If you do, you may find answers to questions you never even thought to ask and your business will take on new life and meaning.

Here are a few suggestions to help you ignite your flame this summer: [Read more…]

Is Your Brand Image Damaging Your Credibility?

At an event I attended recently for my daughter, I was chatting with another parent who is an administrator at a prominent local hospital. Between discussing braces, soccer and upcoming summer plans, we actually got around to talking about non-kid topics. I asked how work was going and he mentioned that he was swamped because in addition to seeing patients, he also was in the process of trying to fill an open position on his staff. When I asked him how it was going, his answer verified something I know to be true… IMAGE MATTERS.

This man told me how they had searched and searched for a qualified candidate and he was excited, but also nervous about someone they found that might be great. The candidate had a really good resume and the appropriate experience, but the problem was “she looked pretty disheveled.” Even though he liked her, he was worried the rest of his staff would not go for it based on her appearance. He went on to tell me that he knew the candidate was a busy mom and as a dad he gets how hectic it can be, but this was a reflection of the candidate’s judgement about the way she presented herself for the interview.

Even though this dad was someone I knew through our kids, I am quite certain he didn’t know I am a brand strategist and image consultant. We were just having a friendly conversation while we waited for our kids. So it wasn’t a case of him trying to come up with some common ground or something I’d be interested in hearing about. It was just the first thing that popped into his mind when I asked him about work.

The point is, people notice your appearance and how you present yourself absolutely effects their impression of you. The example I just shared is a real life situation where someone might lose out on a great opportunity solely because of their personal image. Do you think she will ever know that’s why she didn’t get the job? I doubt it and that’s why I’m revisiting the importance of image with you today. I want to remind you that people are watching, your image matters and it should be a priority when thinking about your personal brand.

Before we go any further, I want to say I AM that busy mom, no I’m not applying for a job in health care, but I am the mom who goes to the gym at 5am and then stops at grocery store afterwards to pick up milk for breakfast in my yoga pants. I do not look perfect all the time as many of you know first-hand. So I want to be clear that I am not implying you try to look perfect 24/7. However, if you are showing up as the ambassador of your brand, you would be very wise to put some thought and effort into your brand image.

I will never forget the first time I [Read more…]

You, a Hot Tub and More Clients…

One of my dear mentors recently posted a very provocative video on YouTube. No make-up, hair undone and filled with raw emotion. It was crazy deep. In all honesty, it made me a little uncomfortable at first, but as I watched, I got completely sucked in.

I was not the only one moved. She touched the hearts of THOUSANDS of Facebook friends (read potential buyers) who responded to her post. No special lighting, no polished editing…it was her vulnerability that did it. When you are vulnerable, you allow other people to feel, share and express their own feelings more easily. What was once uncomfortable suddenly becomes tolerable or even preferable creating an ease of being that is priceless.

The result is a deeper connection and a deeper level of trust with your audience which is what happened for my mentor. Obviously, her vulnerability struck a chord with a lot of people. And here’s where it gets interesting for your business. Connection is the best, most secure way to profit.

If you feel connected to someone, it’s usually because they make you feel a certain way when you are with them. For example, when I saw my mentor’s video with all it’s deep feeling I thought, “Wow, when I am with her, I feel safe to have deep feelings too. I know I can open up to her and she won’t judge me.” That is hugely valuable to me and makes me feel more desire and loyalty towards her. The same will be true for you as well when you begin to open up. Your best, most perfect customers will LOVE you.

Don’t think have to break down and cry to be vulnerable though. Being vulnerable just means [Read more…]

Is Your Brand a One-Note-Wonder?

The other day I was watching America’s Test Kitchen where they were making the most delicious pasta dish with pork and mushrooms. My mouth was watering. What made the dish look so delectable was the steps they took to finish the sauce.

First, they ground the pork and made it into a patty. Then they cooked the patty like a hamburger to crisp up the outside, but left the middle very pink and soft. To finish cooking the meat they chopped up the patty and added cream to the pan which soaked up the drippings from the frying process. Yummm!!

You could tell it was going to taste amazing, nothing like my Wednesday night pasta of ground turkey and a jar of Ragu. No, their sauce was rich and interesting. The textures varied and the flavor deep. I’m sure if you tried it, you wouldn’t want the experience to end. 

Strangely enough, the sauce got me thinking about branding….

In order to create a clear, strong brand it is very important to narrow your focus. If you try to be too many things to too many people you can’t carve out a unique niche and therefore, waste a lot of time, money and energy on marketing and projects that don’t resonate with a loyal audience. Fortunately, entrepreneurs are starting to wake up to the importance of good branding and I see them making real strides in leveraging their strengths.

However, I’ve also noticed a very disturbing and counterproductive trend…

Entrepreneurs feel a lot pressure to brand themselves “correctly.” They want to make decisions that will help them stand out and be most profitable, but they get confused about how to bring everything together in a way that feels good. What they end up doing is choosing what they think makes the most sense and then they leap. Does this sound familiar to you?

Unfortunately, what usually happens under these circumstances is you end up cutting off very valuable pieces of yourself. What’s left is a bland, one-note brand. You cut off those crispy bits that add all the flavor!

Strong brands are narrow, but extraordinary brands are narrow and deep. They have layers. They are interesting and succulent.–HP (tweet this)

I saw a very cool masterclass recently with the great American soprano, Renee Fleming. She was coaching a young mezzo with an absolutely gorgeous voice. The critique Ms. Fleming gave was although her voice was beautiful, the young mezzo’s sound lacked interest because it was all aligned the same way. She needed to play with different kinds of resonances to add color and spice things up. Such great advice for branding!

We work so hard to figure things out, to find our lane, to zip it all up. However, once we get the main genre, life coach, money coach, event planner etc. we tend to park it. If you are an expert, and I’m sure you are, you are not a newbie. You have that first piece figured out. Now you need to go deeper, have more fun. You can and should explore all the colors of your voice. You don’t have to cross the double yellow lines, but you can certainly hug the edge once in a while.

When you do, suddenly your brand will take on more shimmer. It will carry to the back of the hall. The guy in the third row will break into tears. The usher will tweet all her friends about how they have to come and see the next show!

It takes a little courage to own all of who you are, but the results can be magnificent. With each new day and each new inch of authenticity you feel more energized and more richly YOU. You start to separate from the herd and gather a band of merry followers. You become their benevolent pied piper, leading them to higher ground, showing them the way to their own biggest transformation.

So ask yourself, do you want to be a one-note-wonder or a wonderfully, complex and integrated power-house?

If you need help releasing the full beauty of your voice, I invite you to apply for a Complimentary Consultation with me by clicking this link: Complimentary Consultation Application

Until next time, here’s to hitting all your high notes!



Come out, come out wherever you are…

I had a very interesting experience recently. I was on the treadmill, my altar of choice, getting into my zen mode when “Shazammmm!” I had an awesome idea. I was going to create a truth-or-dare type business game, a no-lose, profitable venture for anyone who was willing to play. But I was struggling with how to word the copy. How exactly do you sound both high-end, dead-serious and playful all at the same time? Fast forward to the shower…

Kapow! Inspiration strikes again.

I will make it like a carnival game, but with a $100,000 proposition. Yes, yes, this will be fun! Hmmm, can I really do this? Am I sure this is the right tone? Better test it out… “Hey, guys, what do you think of this? Too bold?”

The feedback I got was crazy divided. One person said I was hiding behind a clown mask, another said, “Right on! This is awesome!” Ok, now what? Who else can I ask…

“Hey, Hubby, what do you think of this copy?” (Just the position in which most husbands like to be put.) “Oh, I’m wonderful you say? Phew… thanks Honey.”

I wasn’t really looking for feedback, I was looking for validation. “Is this ok? Am I ok? Will people like me?”

Have you ever had a flash of inspiration, something that totally fired you up? You couldn’t wait to get home to tell someone. But something happens on the way, doesn’t it? Doubt creeps in and you get cold feet. 

Nine times out of ten, your first impulse is the right one. It’s right because it’s your unfiltered power voice talking to you. That’s what the bolt of electricity is you feel surging through your body when a wild idea pops in your head and that is where your profits come from.

When you edit yourself, you water down your authenticity. You play nice in the sandbox in hopes other kids will come and sit next to you, or maybe even in hopes that they won’t beat you up. Either way what usually happens is you sit there alone, waiting to get noticed.

Letting your true voice out can be incredibly scary, I’ll admit it. I was really nervous about my game copy, but what I realized was, I am done keeping quiet. This bird is out of the cage and she’s gonna sing baby!

I ended up posting something that was pretty bold and very tongue in cheek. I got some takers, but honestly, I may have had more people respond if I had toned it down, but I don’t care. It was so incredibly liberating to breathe more of myself into my brand voice that it felt like a massive victory.

As you continue to express yourself more and more, you will lose favor with some people. Wish them well on their journey of self-discovery, but it’s totally cool and actually preferable. Those that stay will get more value and enjoyment from being a part of the community and you will have more fun serving them as you freely express yourself more and more.

I’ve said it before, branding is like dating. You have to find the right match. If you pretend to be something you are not to fill your funnel, you will start resenting your business. On the other hand, if you let your true voice come out, not only will you develop an awesome tribe who loves you, you will most definitely make more money. Now that’s something to sing about:)

If you are having trouble finding your power voice, I invite you at apply for a Complimentary Consultation with me, by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1G9OUNW

Until next time, here’s to hitting you high notes!



P.S. If you’d like to know more about the game, shoot me an email at heather@clearvoicebranding.com. I could be worth $100,000 to you:)


Is Your Brand Playing Elevator Music?

The other day I was at the mall with my daughter to get her first pair of Uggs. When you’re 13, it’s part of the uniform. While we were shopping around, I noticed some music playing in the background. I knew I recognized the tune, but I just couldn’t figure out the song. Finally, it hit me. It was a Katy Perry song.

The reason I didn’t recognize it at first was because it was essentially elevator music. The song was so watered down, I wasn’t able to connect it to the original.

Katy Perry may not be the edgiest artist out there, but she’s certainly no Frank Sinatra, may Blue Eyes rest in peace. Katy Perry is a young, hip, relevant and kind of kooky pop star. Every characteristic of the music I know to be hers was stripped away and shoved through some kind of musical sanitation process to create the new boring, unoffensive version. Snoresville…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs do the same thing with their brands. In an effort to appeal to the masses, they siphon off the qualities that would in fact, make them unique and stand out. As a result, their brands become background noise.

We are so afraid of loosing our audience, missing out on opportunities or being criticized, we keep our true selves hidden and protected. In doing so we create the results we are trying so hard to avoid.

My greatest opportunities have always come from standing firmly in my truth. It is a lesson I learn over and over again. The more of myself I bring to the table, the more boisterously my audiences responds. Do I offend some people? Sure I do. But here’s the real kick in the pants. The more I lean into who I am, the less I care about pleasing everyone. I get so much joy and satisfaction from running my business as myself, it far outweighs the sting of rejection or criticism.

It is soooooo much more fun to be yourself. And it is sooooooo much more lucrative! [Read more…]

What makes your knees wobble?

devid_bekhem_david_beckham-futbol-lyudi-muzhchiny-197Perfect gets a bad rap. I know it’s important in many aspects of life NOT to aim for perfection. We can’t have perfect bodies, although I think David Beckham makes a pretty good case:) We rarely get perfect hair…actually I think the entire 80’s makes my point there. However…I think you can find the perfect mate.

I’m not suggesting people are perfect, we know they are not. Hmmm, again Beckham comes to mind… Wait, I’m getting off track. What I am suggesting, however, is there are perfect matches. There are just right fits. One person’s bundle of talents, gifts and neurosis may be the exact right compliment to someone else’s crazy puzzle. And the same is true about perfect clients

So many entrepreneurs struggle to find ideal clients. They get a lot of tire-kickers or people who make them feel insecure about their value. Or they get folks who are not really motivated to do the work and it leaves them feeling deflated and frustrated. It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to attract perfect clients. It just feels hard because we tend not to do the work needed to put our high-frequency attraction signals out so the right people can find us.

Most of us settle. We look at the mess of puzzle pieces sitting in front of us and get so overwhelmed we start making rash decisions. Instead of picking up a magnifying glass and studying every curve, edge, line and color of our ourselves and our businesses, we grab from the pile and try random pieces one by one. It’s such a waste of time and energy. And God help us if there’s one that’s even a close fit. We’ll try to cram that baby in there come hell or high water. It’s got to fit, right?

There’s a better way… [Read more…]

How to avoid repelling high-paying clients

Last weekend my beautiful niece who just graduated from film school came up from New York to help me shoot video for a project I am creating. We had so much fun running around Boston shooting in different locations.

I had been looking forward to doing this for weeks, but in the time leading up to the shoot I had gotten very busy. I knew I needed to do a lot of prep so I wouldn’t waste time once we started, but I had just been so slammed that some things had fallen through the cracks. I found myself scrambling the night before to write the script.

Funny enough, I thought I really nailed it. Hey, maybe pressure is really the best editor! Well, not quite…

Just to be sure it was a wonderful as I imagined, I read my masterpiece to my husband for some feedback. I know, I know, asking a spouse for constructive criticism is not always the best idea, but Mr. P is usually pretty good about it. And I know he wants me to succeed, so I was anxious to hear his thoughts.

Of course, I thought he might tweak a word here or there, but otherwise say, “Wow, Honey, you knocked it out of the park!” Not so much.

What he said instead really surprised me. [Read more…]

How to Build a Power Voice

Have you ever been to a really good concert? You know the kind where the singer makes you literally soon? I sure have, only instead of a concert, it was at the opera.

When I was singing professionally, I would often be onstage with phenomenal singers with extremely powerful voices. I remember a production when someone dared the lead tenor to hold the high note as long as he could at the end of his aria. He actually kept singing as he exited off the stage, down a flight of steps and into his dressing room still holding that same note. The conductor was furious, but we singers thought it was awesome.

Imagine the strength it takes to send your voice over an orchestra to the back of the hall. As entrepreneurs we need to have powerful voices as well if we want to be heard above the noise and reach our audiences.  But we are an impatient bunch. We want yummy clients now. We want a book deal yesterday. We want to be invited to speak on big stages and host tv shows next week, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen that way.

In order to project a super powerful voice out into the market place, you must build vocal equity in your brand.@HeatherPoduska Tweet This

You don’t just jump up on stage at the Met and start yodeling and you don’t just throw up a website and start generating thousands of leads in traffic. It takes time and consistent effort to develop a powerful brand voice, but you can speed up the process by following a few key steps: [Read more…]

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

What did you dream of becoming when you were little? I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. Then I wanted to be a pastor’s wife, because my pastor’s wife was beautiful and an excellent musician. In high school, my dreamed changed to wanting to be on the Olympic volleyball team. At 5’7″ I don’t think there was much hope for winning gold on the balance beam…

How did your dreams change over time?

In college, I started as a double-major in music and poli-sci and was determined to be a politician. And then in grad school my attention focused on making it to the Metropolitan Opera. Did any of these dreams come true? Well, yes and no. Did I go on to be an Olympic athlete? No, but I did play competitive volleyball for many years and I have sung for thousands of people.

Our dreams and passions are indicators of what we want out of life. Depending on where we are in the moment, our brains come up with visions of how those urges might be fulfilled. For instance, [Read more…]

Your Brand is Calling… Are you listening?

Now that summer is approaching (big yeah!!) it’s time for ice-cream season. Ok, in full honesty it’s always ice-cream season in my house. But nothing is as good as going to one of those awesome ice-cream shops with tubs of the colorful cold stuff. I love watching my kids press their noses against the glass trying to decide between Moose Tracks and rainbow sherbet. I usually go with some low-fat yogurt number and then watch pining away as the kids slurp up their creaming drippings.

Honestly, I don’t even know why I pick the yogurt. I don’t really like it that much. I end up consuming empty calories without the satisfying pleasure that should accompany indulging. It’s kind of a waste. For all the bother, I’d rather have an apple. But in the moment of choice, I focus on what I should be doing so I pick a treat that really isn’t much of a treat and I go away feeling kind of gypped.

What’s worse is the whole time I’m slugging through my yogurt, I have to watch everyone else enjoying their choices. Sometimes it’s hard for the kids too. They may like what they got, but then they look over at their sisters and feel jealous. What if hers is better? What if she made a better choice?

Why all the focus cups and cones? [Read more…]

How To Be Number One!

Everyone likes a winner. Have you ever noticed when a sports team wins a championship even people from other regions buy and wear the winning team’s paraphernalia? It’s as if by wearing the  team’s logo you yourself are elevated in status. (In all fairness, if you wear a Red Sox cap, you do go up a few notches.)

We like to be associated with success. When we watch the Olympics or American Idol, we route especially hard for the person who is from our city or state. They somehow represent us except…they don’t. We haven’t actually done anything, unless you count grabbing a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s and cheering from the couch.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to cheer for your favorite sports team or support your local talent. What isn’t good is when we find our identification as a business person wrapped up in the reputation of our favorite guru du jour. We do a kind of weird reverse projection. Instead of projecting our baggage onto someone else, we suck their brand onto ourselves.

I do think it’s good to emulate success and I even think it’s useful to model yourself after people you admire. However, in order to be truly successful in your own right, [Read more…]

How to know if you’re playing small?

Do you want to be a winner? Hey, so do I! I guess that means we have something in common with about a billion other people. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a winner? Do we dream as children of failing or not getting what we want out of life? Of course not.

We dream of winning Olympic gold medals or being famous ballerinas. We picture ourselves in mansions driving fancy cars and having a butler bringing us a peanut-butter jelly sandwich on a silver platter. Ok, maybe that last one was just me…

But what happens when we grow up? Do we stop dreaming? No, our dreams just get more sophisticated. We want a house in Aspen or to build a multi-million dollar company. Everybody has dreams. Why is it that some people succeed at achieving their goals while others have to settle for less? [Read more…]

How to Make An Oscar-Worthy Brand

It’s awards season and this week marks the Big Kahuna of all awards for Hollywood, the Oscars. It’s the night that marks the pinnacle of success for actors and actresses, directors, editors and all those associated with the movie-making business. Actors dream their whole lives of winning this award.

I love watching the awards show. Who doesn’t love seeing all those beautiful people dressed to the nines? It’s total eye candy. But in all honesty it’s not my favorite part of the show. I actually love the acceptance speeches. I love seeing the pure joy of the actors, their excitement and nerves. I find it fascinating how flustered they get, these pros who live their lives in front of the camera, performing, suddenly becoming all a flutter when their name is called.

For all the coolness of Hollywood, this is a moment where the humanity of the stars shine through. They seem to be truly effected by the experience. It means something to them. I believe because it is a moment of great validation. They are being recognized for their superior talent.

We tend to think of stars and starlets as being famous only because they are beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, beauty plays a huge part of getting a shot at an acting career. However, people who win the Academy Award are generally excellent artisans and have given stellar performances.

Believe it or not many of the same ingredients that go into winning an Oscar are the same needed to create a successful brand. Here are few tips from the winner’s circle: [Read more…]

Warning! R-Rated

Well, hello there Luscious. I want to welcome you to the R-rated post. It’s going to be a scorcher. I mean it’s going to get so hot up in here you’re going to need fan. Are you ready?

I am about to tell you the hottest, most effective sales technique in the universe. It is something that is a guaranteed to make your clients salivate for more.

Ok, here it is. I’m going to pull back the covers now and let you see the surprise.

Hold on there Sally, not so fast. We’re going to take this slow… real slow. Just a little bit at a time. Let’s make it last. Believe me, it will be worth the wait.

Because when you wrap your head around this technique, it’s going to literally blow your socks off. Hey, it may even blow the socks off your clients. They are going LOVE it. It’s going to make them so excited. You are going to make them feel great and you are going to feel great in return.

Have you figured it out yet? I sure hope so, because [Read more…]

Are You a Progressive Thinker?

I cannot express how much I am sick of winter. One of the things I hate about the cold weather is the slick roads. And wouldn’t you know it, I got hit last week by someone who slid in the snow into my car.

Luckily, no one was in the car at the time, but there was quite a bit of damage to the fender. I was not looking forward to dealing with the insurance companies, but alas, it had to be done.

The other driver’s insurance was Progressive, you know the one on tv with the quirky woman named Flo? Well,when I called, the insurance guy wanted me to go to their service center to get the repairs done. Only problem was the service center was about 40 minutes from my house. I had no intention of driving that far when I could just pop down to the local garage. But Joshua, the polite agent with whom I spoke, assured me if I did go to the Progressive center I would be in and out in 15 minutes with a new rental to use while waiting for the repairs.

Hmmm, now that got me thinking. [Read more…]

Why Can’t I Do This On My Own?

Why is it so hard to brand yourself? Those of you who know me know my favorite phrase “Trying to brand yourself is like trying to cut your own hair.”@Heather Poduska (Tweet this) You can do it, but you probably won’t be satisfied with the results. Why is that? Why do we need someone else to help create a brand, and a personal brand at that!

Don’t we know ourselves best? Don’t we have a pretty good clue about what are strengths are and what makes us special? Well, if you are off and running and have all the clients you want, have a crystal clear platform, know exactly how to articulate your value and have an image that authentically reflects the vibe of your business, then the answer is YES! Woohoo, my hats off to you. You did it, you’re a genius.

For most of us though, [Read more…]

I Am Woman Hear Me Brand!

There are more women entrepreneurs now than at any other time in history. According Forbes magazine, female entrepreneurship will create over half the small business jobs in the U.S. by year 2018. However, according to the US Census Bureau, we only generate 4% of the revenue. Ouch. Why if we are so industrious are we not creating more profits?

After all, as Stuart Smalley always said, “We’re good enough, we’re smart enough. And doggone it, people like us!” We have what it takes to be successful, but that is not necessarily translating into actual profits. Here’s the rub. Being smart, talented and hard-working may not be enough to really grow your business. Of course, without those traits, you don’t have much of a chance at anything, but the marketplace is littered with struggling business owners who work hard. There is something missing in this equation. [Read more…]

The Problem With Thinking Outside The Box

Want to know how to turn your pretty good brand into something really special? You need to shake it up, think outside the box. At least that’s what everyone says. But what if everyone is wrong? What if everything you needed to be spectacular was right inside your very own box?

The problem with thinking outside the box is the whole going outside business. We tend to think we can cherry pick parcels of genius from the ether.  The truth is, when we reach out and away, we move away from the very things that could set us apart. In an effort to expand our brand appeal we actually dilute its  potency.

Of course, we find inspiration outside of ourselves, however, [Read more…]

Is Your Brand Stuck in Neutral?

If you are like most entrepreneurs, you have a fire in your belly to do great things. You want to impact the world in a big way and build a successful business. The only problem is, you’re not quite sure how you’re going to do it.

You probably started your business just trying to get clients in the door. You went to networking events, built relationships and eventually started getting referrals. Now, however, just as you’ve passed the stage of getting your business up and running…things have stalled. No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to generate the momentum you need to kick your brand to the next level. What’s happening? [Read more…]

Is Your Brand a Firecracker or a Dud?

Happy 4th of July! I’m sure many of you are heading off tonight to watch a fireworks display. I love fireworks. It always reminds me of being home in Wisconsin with my family. We would watch from the roof of our car and try to guess what would come next, a giant plume or a quirky swirl.  We were always delighted and amazed, unless of course, it was a dud.

The dreaded dud was a huge let down. You would watch the sky waiting for the next big thrill, only to be accosted by a deafening boom. Not only was it disappointing, it also scared the bejeebees out of me as a kid. It took a while before I could watch the rest of the show because I was worried the same thing would happen again. My fireworks trust was eroded.

Not a huge deal on the 4th of July, in fact, it’s bound to happen at some point. However, being a dud with your brand is a big deal. The last thing you want to do is disappoint your audience! And you certainly don’t want to do anything to cause them to lose trust in you. Of course, no one is perfect and mistakes are a natural part of any endeavor, but your brand show better have more thrills than spills if you want to be successful.

Here are a few tips to light up the sky with your brand: [Read more…]

Why You Need An Obnoxious Brand To Succeed

If you were raised anything like I was, you were taught to be polite and proper, especially if you are female. “Say please and thank you, keep your clothes neat, don’t interrupt others when they are speaking.” The last thing your parents wanted you to be was obnoxious!  However, teaching good etiquette to children can leave a residue that makes it difficult to market a business effectively.

In order to grow your business, you need to be able to reach and communicate with your audience on a regular basis which means you need to be persistent. The problem for many female entrepreneurs is they don’t want to bother anyone. They don’t want to come across as too pushy. How many times have you heard business coaches say they teach how to do sales without being “salesy”? Salesy has become the new “F” word. What happens in an effort not to be seen as obnoxious is lack of growth and loss of potential income.

Did you know it takes an average [Read more…]

How to Make a Delicious Brand Cocktail…

After a recent trip to Jamaica, my 7 year old daughter said to me, “Mom, I miss hotel life…” Me too, Honey, me too. One thing I miss is having a lovely waiter bring me some delicious, frothy concoction to my pool side chair. On the plane ride home I was already thinking about how I could recreate some of the wonderful treats from vacation, but it won’t be the same. I’ve decided everything tastes better when you are wearing flip-flops.

There is something special about the poolside frozen drink. Sure you could order an ice-cold Coke or even a wine spritzer to quench your thirst, but where’s the thrill in that? When was the last time your Chardonnay came with a maraschino cherry and an umbrella? A good mixed-drink experience is a performance, a spectacle. It is a wild, fun ride that ends with a very happy customer. Hmmm, sounds like a recipe for good branding…

Here is my recipe for a crowd-pleasing Brand Cocktail: [Read more…]

Is Your Brand Green?

iStock_000006139774XSmallEvery brand has a unique personality and one of the best ways to express that personality is through the use of color. Every color also has its own personality. Have you ever noticed how differently you feel when looking at various colors? Dark colors can sometimes bring us down just as vibrant colors can infuse us with energy.

There has been a lot of research into the psychology of color and how it impacts human beings. Understanding how you want your brand to impact your audience is essential to choosing the right colors for your business and marketing materials.  In honor of St. Paddy’s Day, here are the common psychological associations with the color green. [Read more…]

Why Your Brand Should Ditch The Rules

Beautiful geisha girl, Japan ---  Kyoto, Japan, April 10, 2009:  A real geisha girl of Kyoto, Japan. ---  A geisha girl on a street in Kyoto, Japan, pausing to be admired.I love opera music. Actually, what I really love is singing it. I feel so lucky because when ever I want, I can pull out music from any composer that strikes my fancy and sing til my heart’s content be it Mozart or Verdi.  It’s one of the perks of performing in my living room. Aside from the sheer pleasure of singing the most beautiful music ever written in the whole wide world spanning all of history (no bias here), the other reason I love yodeling a casa  is there is no one telling me what I can and cannot sing. You see in opera, there are a lot of  RULES.

Some of these rules make sense and are actually  in the best interest of the singer. For example, if a score is written for a very large orchestra, the singer must have a very big voice to carry over the instrumentation otherwise they risk shredding their vocal chords in an effort to be heard. However, a lot of the rules seem to be somewhat arbitrary and very restrictive. Certain voice types simply “should not” sing certain roles. If you are too tall, you will probably never be cast as the ingenue. In an audition, you should not wear anything too sexy, wait, no it’s that you should not be too conservative. Hmmm, no I think it is that you should never wear a turtle neck… [Read more…]

Is Criticism Damaging Your Brand?

“No one ever erected a statue in honor of a critic.”-Jean Sibelius, composer

Let’s get one thing straight right here, right now. There is almost no way to create a strong, successful brand without getting criticized. As difficult as it is to be at the receiving end of negative feedback, you do yourself and your brand a huge disfavor by going out of your way to avoid it. No one likes getting lambasted for sticking their neck out, however, charting your course by trying not to offend others is a sure-fire way to weaken the impact and power of your brand.

I am not suggesting you go out of your way to be sensational either. Trying to get attention for attention’s sake does your brand no favors either. We all know people and companies who will say or do anything to keep their names front and center. Such antics only cheapen your brand. Thankfully, there is a better path. When you stand in your own truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be at times, you always come out the other side with personal and authentic success.

Tolerating criticism can be highly unpleasant and difficult to withstand even when you are secure in the value of your brand message.

Here are a few tips to keep you strong in the face of adversity: [Read more…]

Do You Have Enough Conviction To Be Great?

“I have a dream…”

This month marks the birthday of civil rights leader and activist, Martin Luther King Jr. We remember his life and his message of equality and non-violent protest. Now days his message is widely embraced and celebrated, however, during his lifetime King’s convictions caused extreme conflict ending, of course, in his murder.

By the time King was killed, he had already received many death threats. In spite of the danger, he was not deterred. He knew there was a significant possibility he would not survive to see his dream through to fruition, and still, he kept on. How does one forge ahead in the face of such great and grave opposition? [Read more…]

5 Tips for Stripping for Success.

This is the time of year when everyone looks back on the good, the bad and the ugly of the past year. We review the top 10 news events, sports events, movies and songs. Some things thrilled us and some things floored us. It can be fun to reminisce, and it also a gives us an opportunity to understand what is working and what isn’t in our lives and businesses.

The past gives us the clues we need to make better decisions moving forward. The problem for most of us though, is we tend not to change our behavior or change it enough to elicit a different outcome. In order to get real traction, we need to be willing to let go of things, but this can be difficult and scary.

All too often, we look at a situation we know isn’t perfect, perhaps we have a difficult client or vendor, but instead of addressing what needs to be changed, we trudge along in the same manner and tolerate the results. Next year at this time we will be thinking the exact same thing, “I really should do something about this situation.”

When you carry forward those things which aren’t working, you lose time, money and FUN! You may not even realize how much these irritants are weighing you down until you get rid of them.  When you do strip away what’s not optimal, you create a more streamlined, on-brand and enjoyable business.

 To help you lose your inhibitions about stripping down, here are a few tips: [Read more…]

10 Branding Tips from Santa.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, you’ve got to admit Santa Claus is an excellent marketer. His brand recognition makes Oprah Winfrey look like a b-lister and his coffers are so full he makes Bill Gates look like a pauper. Santa generated over $400 BILLION in sales last year alone! How does the Big Man do it?

Santa may be magical, but his success is actually the result following these good branding rules… [Read more…]

Are You Leaning into your Brand?

When things in your business hit a wall, do you find another wall to push or do you lean into the one in front of you?

When we start a new business, we usually have the excitement of a kid on the last day of school. We’re itching for the bell to ring so we can get going. We rush out into the marketplace, start looking for clients and think of all kinds of ideas and products for our new venture. However, somewhere along the way our enthusiasm runs low.

Maybe clients aren’t flowing in as quickly and regularly as we thought they would. Or we experience a slump in our creativity. This is when the doubt monster creeps in and wreaks havoc on our confidence. When we start to feel insecure, one of the first things we do is look at what we can change.

Sometimes change is a great way to breathe new life into a business and sometimes change is just a knee-jerk reaction that results in a jumbled mess. We get frustrated so we start looking around at what everyone else is doing. We think if this big guru is doing things a certain way, that must be the right way for us. We borrow a little here and a little there and morph our business so much that it no longer looks like our business. It just looks like a watered-down amalgamation of someone else’s vision.

So what’s a girl to do? [Read more…]

Are You Afraid of Your Shadow?

As a little kid I was afraid of many things, but I was especially afraid of the dark. Instead of using a little night light, I slept all night with the overhead light glaring down on me. Dark rooms were bad, but the scariest thing for me was pulling down my shades at night. I absolutely hated looking out the window into the darkness. I was convinced someone would pop up out of the blackness into my window pane.

I made up all kinds of rituals not to look out those blasted windows which included everything from crawling to standing backwards while pulling down the shades. The idea someone was lurking out there in the dark, someone awful, someone who wanted to hurt me was totally terrifying. Luckily, it never happened. Nor was it likely to ever happen since we lived across the street from a massive cow field.

As entrepreneurs we also live in fear of darkness, but it’s not the darkness outside our windows, [Read more…]

Does Size Really Matter?


Does size really matter? I found this leaf while walking yesterday. Isn’t it lovely? It’s barely bigger than my thumb. I guess that’s what caught my attention. As tiny as it is, it’s as perfectly shaped and vibrantly colorful as any leaf I’ve seen this fall. Would it be any more beautiful if it were bigger? Of course not. Your brand does not have to be gigantic to be effective either, but you do need to follow some rules.

In our society we are bombarded with the message that bigger is better. In order to be noticed we have to make things larger than life. We even buy super-sized drinks, but does the extra volume enhance our experience? Does having more of something, anything actually, get our needs met to a greater degree? [Read more…]

Does this Brand Make Me Look Fat?

Come on, admit it. We’ve all tried something on that hasn’t felt exactly right and then surveyed our husband or best girl friend for an answer we’d like to hear. We say “Does this make me look fat?” Of course, we want them to say “No, honey, you look beautiful.” But honestly, if you felt beautiful in the first place, you probably wouldn’t have asked the question.

I have found recently many people do the equivalent with their brands. They try things on for size, it might be a new service or a new tagline, and then they survey the heck out of anyone who will listen. “What do you think of my new_____?”

Don’t get me wrong, surveys are wonderful and necessary tools to get clear on how best to promote your brand and serve your audience. The problem comes when [Read more…]

When Being in the Red Isn’t Bad for Business.

“I’m so mad, I’m seeing red.” “He’ll never make the leap, he’s totally yellow.” “I wish the sun would come out, I’m feeling blue.” Our brains are programmed to make many specific associations to color, so much so, we have woven those associations into our everyday language.

Because of the powerful effect color has on our psyches, it is one of the best tools we have to strengthen our brand impact. You can use those innate associations to your advantage, but first you must be clear about what kind of associations you want your audience to make with you and your business. Once you are clear about your desired impact,  you can choose colors that  resonate with the core message of your brand to engage your ideal clients. Pretty cool!

The spectrum of possibilities is endless, so how are you going to choose the palette that’s just right for your brand?

Here are a few tips… [Read more…]

Does Your Brand Look Good Naked?

Have you ever found yourself paging through one of those celebrity fashion magazines feeling a little cynical? That little green monster creeps in as you compare yourself to all those gorgeous ingenues. You comfort yourself by making excuses as to why they are there looking so beautiful and you are still living the life of a mere mortal woman. How hard is it to look beautiful when you’re wearing a glitzy dress or ball gown? After all, it’s one of the most flattering things a woman can wear. It’s all smoke and mirrors you think. Peel away the glitz and glamour and underneath it all they are probably not that special. Or at least you hope. [Read more…]

Let’s All Get Tanked!

Many of you may already be familiar with the tv program called “Tanked,” but my first exposure to the show was on vacation this summer. Obviously, the kids had control of the remote in the hotel room! At first, I thought it was just another inane reality show, but as I watched I came to realize this was a great study of effective branding! The show is about two guys who build custom-made fish tanks. Yes, that’s it. Stay with me now. I’m sure you think this is a little fishy, but there is a lot to learn here.

[Read more…]

Are You Optimizing Your Brand Resonators?

In classical singing we often talk about creating resonance. Resonance is what makes a voice carry. Leveraging vocal resonators is what enables classical singers to project their voices over the orchestra without the aid of a microphone. Leveraging personal brand resonators buoys your business to rise over the noise of the marketplace.

In singing, optimizing resonance is done by creating sympathetic vibrations in different parts of the body to enhance the sound coming from the tiny vocal folds in the throat. Because each person has unique physiology, these resonators also play a significant role in the distinct quality of sound each singer is able to make. It is part of the vocal finger print. If you have a broad face and a big nose, your sound will be different than if you had a thin face with fine features. However, in order to create this synthesized and original sound, you have to keep the system open and allow the vibrations to travel freely throughout the body. If the system is not open and supported, the singer cannot take advantage of all the resonators and the result is a compromised tone.

In personal branding, each of us has a unique voice as well. Our brand voice is [Read more…]

Is Fear Killing your Brand?

If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of one thing that plagues most human beings, it would be worry. I hate worry, HATE IT!  It is an evil that must be challenged at every turn. Worry stops dreams before they start. Worry poisons passion. And worry is one of the leading causes of a malady that strikes down many otherwise healthy business owners. It’s called weakbranditis. Weakbranditis is a condition that occurs when people worry too much about what other people think. They worry whether or not people will like them. They worry they will come across too strongly, too girly, too anything and everything. In an effort to avoid the discomfort of possible rejection, they pull back, tone down or dilute the very things that would make their brands special and memorable. [Read more…]

Go Ahead and Cheat

Don’t you wish you could dig into a hot-fudge sundae and there would be no repercussions. You’d gain no weight, your blood sugar wouldn’t spike, your cholesterol would not be effected. It would be a world where cheating was not cheating. Wouldn’t that be nice? You could simply indulge and enjoy the warm fudgy goodness. It may not ever be the case that indulging your sweet tooth won’t negatively impact your health, however, there are times when cheating is not only ok, it’s highly encouraged. [Read more…]

Is Your Brand a Winner?

This past weekend was the running of the Kentucky Derby. I really didn’t give much thought to it until I ran into another mom who told me she was going to attend a Derby party that night. At first I had no idea what she was talking about, but once she explained it was a Kentucky Derby party I was really fascinated. I started peppering her with questions. Will you wear a hat? Will there be betting? Will there be a signature drink? “Well, of course!” she replied. Hats, wagers and mint juleps were all on the menu.

In recent years it seems like more and more people are throwing these kinds of home spectator parties. No longer do people just gather for the annual Superbowl. Theme parties spread the gamut from erudite election parties to glitzy Oscar parties complete with red carpet. All this partying has me thinking. Fun and frivolity aside, what is the deeper appeal of the spectator party and what does it have to do with branding? [Read more…]

Is your Brand a Brown Box or a Thoughtful Gift?

Content is king, right? That’s what we are told over and over again. While I believe you need to have quality services and products to offer your clients, I don’t believe great content is a panacea for drawing in and converting eager clients. Substantive content is vital to building a valuable and trustworthy brand, however, it isn’t necessarily what is going to grab the attention of your audience.  What you need to go along with your relevant content is enticing packaging.

There, I’ve said it. You can all start throwing your tomatoes now. I know for many people the idea of glorifying packaging is exactly what they dislike about marketing. They feel it devalues the core of the message or product they are creating and selling. As consumers we sometimes [Read more…]

Put a little Spring into your Brand Step.

One of the pillars of good branding is consistency. Consistency makes your brand stick in the minds of your audience. The more consistent you are with your brand message and image, the more recognizable and memorable your brand becomes. When you are consistent, you develop a reputation for being reliable. However, we need to be careful we don’t let the reliability of our brands allow them to get boring. Sure, reliability and consistency are the foundations of successful branding, but let’s face it, if that’s all you have going for your brand it’s about as exciting as an old shoe. If you really want to entice your audience you are going to have to trade in those clunky loafers for some sexy sandals.

Here are some of my tips for putting some spice in the soul of your brand: [Read more…]

Eat only what’s delicious.

I recently read an article about something called the “Snob Diet.” The idea is to be discriminating about what you eat. Instead of eating low-fat, processed “diet” food, you actually eat real, full-fat, scrumptious food. When you eat the real thing, the idea is, you are more satisfied so you actually eat less and lose weight. If you are like 99% of most of us, you are probably watching what you eat on a daily basis in an effort to stay as trim and healthy as possible, so the idea of indulging with Häagen Dazs may seem like diet suicide. But before you throw out the brie with the bath water, take a second look at the Snob Diet. It’s not about stuffing your face in a trans-fat frenzy, it’s about the experience of deeply enjoying the process of eating.

As business owners we would do well to pay attention to the Snob Diet. Whether we are talking about eating or the process of shopping, most people have a strong desire to have quality experiences. As consumers we are bombarded with garbage, with a lot of loud junk. We long for the experience that will transcend the noise and fill us with meaningful nourishment. As business owners we need to ask ourselves not only what is the best product we can provide, but also what is the best EXPERIENCE we can give our customers. [Read more…]

You Talkin’ to Me?

IStock_000013428086XSmallI recently heard an example of great branding on the radio. It was for a local auto repair shop that specializes in repairing European motors. The announcer got on and pointed out how they were different from their competitors who had lower prices, but less experienced technicians and also from their competitors who offered fancy chairs and lattes while you wait, but who had prices to match these extra luxuries. Their niche was a fair price and a good job for the regular guy.

You may think that everyone thinks of themselves as the regular guy, but that’s not true. I for one would be willing to spend a little extra money to sit in a nice clean room, with a comfortable chair sipping a frothy drink while someone worked on my car. And there are people who always want or need the lowest possible price. What this auto shop did so well was effectively target their ideal client. They did not try to appeal to each end of the spectrum and everything in between. As a result, they did not waste time and money reaching out to the wrong audience. [Read more…]

The Courage to Brand

IStock_000017350380XSmallMy five year old daughter came home from school crying the other day. It turns out they had been learning about Martin Luther King Jr. and she was upset he had been shot. After consoling her, we talked about how courageous King had been. Of course, my daughter was too young to understand why it took courage for King to speak his mind. However, as adults we know the huge amount of courage King had to possess to espouse his dream of hope and equality for all people.

Courage can be defined as the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.” I love the part about “without being deflected from a chosen course of action.” King knew the danger he was in by continuing his vocal campaign, but he kept on because he believed in the power of his message. He knew there were people who needed him to be their voice. [Read more…]

Can Your Brand Sell a Green Shoe?

Can Your Brand Sell a Green Shoe?I have sworn off watching the news during my daily 6:00am treadmill run. It bums me out too much. I have switched to reading client attraction, self-improvement or branding materials instead. However, the other day I forgot my book and resorted to watching tv again. I landed on the highly cerebral show of “America’s Next Top Model.” Hey, not only did it get me through the burn, it also reminded me of an important branding lesson.

On this particular episode the girls were asked to pose nude except for one piece of clothing, jewelry or other accessory they would be trying to “sell” with the picture. Of course, most of the models were understandably nervous, who wouldn’t be, but it was so interesting to see how some of the girls succeeded in capturing the interest of the viewer and some did not. You have to remember ALL of these girls were gorgeous with near perfect bodies, so it wasn’t a question of whether someone was pretty enough or svelte enough to look good in the photo. It was more a question of what ELSE they brought to the scene.

[Read more…]