What is your Brand?

I hear a lot about “Branding” today. I regularly get emails about the corporate brand, your personal brand, defining your brand, building your brand, brand nauseum!!!

Much branding information focuses on a logo or a positioning statement.

For example:

  • BMW — The Ultimate Driving Machine
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken — Finger Lick’n Good!

Thus, you change the logo or positioning statement to change the brand.

I have a different concept of branding.

Rancher Branding CattleIn the American West — in the time of cowboys, open ranges and cattle drives — in order to tell one rancher’s cattle from another, ranchers would burn a mark into their livestock’s hide. When other ranchers saw the mark, they knew who owned the cattle. When rustlers stole the cattle, they knew whose cattle they were stealing. The “brand” is the mark that the rancher left on the cattle.

Thus, a business’s brand is simply the mark the business leaves on its customers.

BMW Corporate LogoBMW — The Ultimate Driving Machine only works if a BMW actually is the ultimate driving machine. It’s the car and its performance that leaves the mark on the driver and makes the brand.
Starbucks Corporate LogoStarbucks brand is not a green and white mermaid. Starbucks brand is my grande Veranda with no room for cream, or it is a venti pumpkin spice latte with eight shots of espresso, seven pumps of pumpkin sauce, and one pump of maple pecan sauce, as the case may be. It also is a comfortable place to meet with a variety of chairs and tables where you can stay for hours and not get hassled, clean restrooms and free Wifi.

What is good customer service?Our personal brand is the mark we leave on the people we meet and touch each day. We each leave a mark on everyone we touch. Some of us leave others feeling better every time we see them. Some of us make others happy every time we leave. I am sure we all have friends who are always late or don’t seem care if they upset us. We also have friends who aware and concerned about our well being.

Our personal brand is the mark we leave on the people we meet.Your Personal Brand

Let’s be sure not to burn them!

Click Here for Speaking and Leadership Materials

How to Mimic Authenticity

Groucho Marks is reported to have said, “The most important thing is honesty. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”
Groucho Marks

In line with these words of wisdom, “To be a great speaker, once you can mimic authenticity, you’ve got it made!”

I have had a busy spring and summer reviewing scores of speeches and speakers. One issue I consistently see with most inexperienced speakers is that they tend to mimic their stories, styles and performance from the speakers they would like to be.

My assessment of the problem is that most of us want to be something more than we are. In the process of trying to be more than we are, we fail to realize that our conundrum is actually resolved by being what we are – more!

With few exceptions, successful speakers, and successful people in general, have connected with own authenticity in their subject, in their career or in their life.

Authenticity comes from the word Author. Author is defined as – the maker of anything; creator; originator:

Seeing into the future

You cannot mimic someone else’s creation and in the same breath be your own author or creator.

This is not to say that you don’t watch, listen and learn from others. It is to say that you while you watch listen and learn from others, you take what you learned and fully own it. Make it yours, play with it, use it, see that it works for you. You don’t copy someone and do what they did only because you saw it work for them.

Your story is always best, because it is your authentic story.

Your lesson is always best, because it is your authentic lesson.

Your Choice

Your heart touching moment is always best because it is your authentic heart touching moment.

If you want to touch the heart of the audience, you have to speak from your heart.

So how does one do that? How does one find their authenticity???

Well…I had to dig…into the essence of my soul and discover who I really was. It was not a 2 hour drive – It was a bit of a journey!

In my DVD, Mastering Your Speech, I spend an entire hour on this subject. Where I looked for my messages. What questions I asked of myself to find the answers to who I was. How I discovered my authentic stories.

Speaking is not a matter of giving a message. It is a matter of giving your message!

There are great stories, great lessons and great wisdom that resides in each of us.

If we can find them and communicate them, we improve our lives and lives others!

Safe travels!

Click Here for Speaking and Leadership Materials

Are Employees an Asset or a Liability?

Last month I attended the National Speakers Association Annual Convention. I had the opportunity to speak with Howard Putnam, a fellow pilot and professional speaker. Howard was also the second CEO of Southwest Airlines.

I have long been a fan of Southwest Airlines. I use their services extensively as I criss-cross the U.S. I consider Southwest one of the most consumer-friendly airlines. But what stands out the most is the attitude of their employees.

I have asked over 100 Southwest employees how they like their job? Of those, 100% have enthusiastically responded with, “This is the best company I have ever worked for!”

Howard shared a story with me about Southwest’s founder, Herb Kelleher. In the mid-1970’s, Howard and Herb were in New York City at an investor meeting. One of the investors asked Herb how he was going to generate the financial return to the investors if they paid his employees so much?

Howard said that Herb responded, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the customers. If the customers are taken care of, they will take care of the investors.”

While other carriers have struggled over past years, this little airline from Dallas continues to grow. While they have around 60,000 employees today, the real indication of their success is that they have over 200,000 people apply to work for them each year.

This is not to say that Southwest is perfect. But Southwest is taking a lot of right actions in creating a winning employee culture.

Many companies I have worked for considered employees a “cost” or a “liability” rather than an asset. They looked at how to lower labor costs rather than how to maximize employee contribution.

How much better would our work be if employees:

  • Were empowered to be their “best” at work?
  • Were acknowledged for the success they helped create?
  • Shared in the financial rewards for the success they helped create?

What if going to work was the best part of our day!

“The greatest wasted natural resource in the world is the untapped human potential that resides in each of us.”

Click Here for Speaking and Leadership Materials

How to Start a New Club

If you have ever wanted to start a new Toastmasters Club, here is a proven way to successfully do it!

This by Rick Furbush who has started over 100 new clubs. Rick is the Region 8 Advisor, and as a District leader took District 46, in Florida, to President's Distinguished and was one of the top 6 Districts in the world 3 years in a row. 

Here is a complete write up on how to do a Toastmasters Kickoff Meeting.

Let's help the world communicate - one person at a time!