Search Results for "originality"

  • Your Originality: How to Capture and Market It

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    We are – each and everyone of us – original. No two people are exactly alike. That originality is our brand and our selling point. The author, CS Lewis, once said,  “No man [or woman] who bothers about originality will be original: simply tell the truth and you’ll become original without noticing it.”

    Ahhh, but the challenge for many is how to capture and communicate what makes us unique and then how to position that as value to the person with whom we would like to work.

    I found two blog posts this week to help overcome the challenges of defining and marketing originality.

    Joanna Maxwell’s workincolour.com blog  post, What Are Your Talents? is a gem of a working tool. Maxwell says, “It’s not currently fashionable to talk about talents: we focus on skills and experience, or describe someone as ‘gifted’ without getting too specific. But talents are part of our essential make-up – the gifts, passions, interests and natural aptitudes we are born with.”

    These talents are an inherent part of our original make-up, and Maxwell takes readers through an exercise, based on Howard Gardner’s “Eight Core Intelligences” to help us identify those talents we have and those we do not. She then goes on to suggest we investigate our other non-Gardner talents and work the whole batch up into a profile (sample provided) that we and others can understand.

    Now for an original way to market your originality, read Take the Employer’s-Eye View by Liz Ryan on the Glassdoor.com Blog.

    Ryan says, “We are trained (badly!) to talk about ourselves in our job search overtures to employers. We are taught to say that we’ve done this and that and worked in X, Y and Z industries. We are schooled in telling employers what we think of our own skills: ‘I’m strategic and savvy and a good communicator.’ This old-school job search approach is dangerous garbage, because it keeps us from focusing on the one thing an employer cares about: namely, him- or herself, and his or her own problems.”

    Lots of information in each of these blogs to help make you clear, relevant and valuable.

    And speaking of relevant, this weekend we should try to remember the real meaning of Memorial Day and that it is not – as most holidays have become – a car, mattress, coat or cashmere mega sale day.

    Happy Holiday and thank you to all of those who gave their lives so that we might enjoy it!

  • Storytelling – The Business of You

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    I was struck when I read Alina Tugen’s NY Times article, Storytelling Your Way to Find a Better Job or Build a Business, this weekend. Struck that this thousands of years old art form has now become such a high profile trend. It’s been called a strategic tool with “irresistible power” by Harvard Business Review. And “the major business lesson of 2014” by Entrepreneur magazine.

    Tugend says, “In these days of tougher-than-ever job searches, competition for crowdfunding and start-ups looking to be the next Google or Facebook, it’s not enough just to offer up the facts about you or your company to prospective employers or investors. Or even to your own workers. You need to be compelling, unforgettable, funny and smart. Magnetic, even. You need to be able to answer the question that might be lingering in the minds of the people you’re trying to persuade: What makes you so special? You need to have a good story.”

    A good story, however, is not that easy to tell.

    Turend offers 5 Tips:

    • Know who your audience is.

    • Have a beginning, middle and end.

    • Use concrete details and personal experience.

    • Don’t self-censor.

    • Don’t try to memorize a story so it sounds rehearsed. It’s not about perfection. It’s about connecting.

     

    I think the first steps to successful storytelling are even more basic:

    1. Know the story you want to tell.
    2. Find the information that best tells the story.
    3. Determine the form that most clearly displays that information.

    In terms of you and your work or startup aspirations, stories can illuminate:

    • Who you are – your character, originality and authenticity, as well as your skills and expertise.
    • Where you came from.
    • Where you are going.
    • What you care about.
    • What is important to you.

    Speaking of illuminate, storytelling – especially in our digital age – goes well beyond the written word. In this multimedia world you need to create a spoken, written, and visual message. Pictures, logos, videos and information graphics are all tools to help you tell your story – your brand – and engage your audience in much less than a thousand words.

    One of the most valuable resources I’ve found for digital storytelling are these online workshops from The KQED Digital Storytelling Initiative.

    No matter what your tools – be it a hammer and chisel, a feather pen, or a mouse – the best, most compelling and memorable stories are those that engage your audience. Anyone can relay facts and data. It takes an artist to build and share a story, but you can learn to do it and it will bring your job interview or new business startup pitch to life. Good stories change lives.

     

     

     

     

  • When It’s Okay to Let Your Brand Go to The Dogs!

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    It’s very okay when you’re a dog walker!

    When I read  Corey Kilgannon’s  article, “Dressed to Lead the Pack,” in the New York Times this week, I recognized a hugely successful branding story.

    It’s Precious Costello Caldwell’s story, a dog walker who sets a unique sartorial tone for himself, his employees and even his dogs. Mr. Caldwell was 67 years old and contemplating a career change when he got the inspiration for his new business. Sitting on a park bench in New York City, he noticed the dog walkers looked rather shabby compared to the well-groomed pets in their care.

    He realized that the same owners, who valued the image of their pampered pets, would also value a unique image for their dog walkers and he set about creating a professional brand dog owners could trust.

    “Mr. Caldwell,” says Kilgannon, “is always impeccably turned out in an outfit that seems to borrow equally from Ralph Lauren, Indiana Jones and the Marlboro Man: boots, rugged canvas pants, an olive green sweater and a matching vest bearing a self-drawn logo for his dog-walking company, Royal Wolves.  He provides the same outfit to his staff of other dog walkers. The pups themselves he accessorizes with real leather leashes and a yellow neckerchief, custom printed with the dog’s name.”

    Caldwell says, “We are such eye catchers, everyone asks us for a business card.”

    Caldwell exemplified these 3 classic branding techniques as he took his brand to the dogs – and success:

    1. Establishing His Character, Originality and Authenticity.  Too many brands are packaged, programmed, and plastic. You won’t get very far if you try to be something you’re not. Rather, your personal brand is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It’s the essence of authenticity.

    2. Identifying and Showcasing His Skills and Talents.   Caldwell had grown up living next door to a kennel where he helped walk the dogs, and years later the skills and his affection for dogs still came naturally to him.

    3. Letting His Voice Be Heard and Seen. In this multimedia world you need to create a spoken, written, and visual message, which is relevant and consistent. Caldwell says, “I stand out. I’m a walking advertisement. People see me and they tell their friends.”

    As we said in an earlier blog post, you have the power to Be Like Matisse and Reinvent Your Life as a Work of Art, or, as in Precious Caldwell’s case,  as the leader of a pack – of dogs of course!

  • 6 Tips To Take Charge of Your Brand in These Hyper-Connected Times. Don’t Let Yours Suffer the Humiliation of Richard III’s

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    Yes, the former King of England’s skeleton was recently discovered in a shallow, unmarked grave under a modern parking lot. Humiliating as that is, the scariest part of this story may be that the King’s prolonged royal fall was due, in large part, to just one man, William Shakespeare. The great playwright wrote in his history play, Richard III, that Richard personally ordered the killing of two Princes, his 9 and 12-year old nephews, in the Tower of London to clear his way to the throne. Despite the fact that this was never proven, in point the King was never charged, Shakespeare’s villainous label has stuck for more than 500 years.

    Shakespeare said, “All the World’s a Stage,” and he used this platform to celebrate or skewer many brands. This would be impossible for one man to do in today’s totally networked culture. Technology has created a seismic shift in the ways in which information and opinion are conveyed. Social media has created access to vast amounts of information, producing unprecedented transparency. It’s an opportunity for you to think in terms of how best to stage your brand for maximum benefit.

    We call this Brandraising (a term we learned several years ago from one of our favorite blogs, The Duck Call), and the following tips will help you raise your brand:

    1. Establish Your Character, Originality and Authenticity.

    2. Identify and Showcase Your Skills and Talents – the gifts, passions, interests and natural aptitudes you are born with, which are part of your essential make-up, and those you’ve learned through experience.

    3. Let Your Voice Be Heard and Seen. In this multi-media world you need to create a spoken, written, and visual message, which is relevant and consistent. Each and every word and image counts. It’s your story, your brand, your career and your life. No one is better equipped to capture the essential details than you.

    Great learning tools:

    The Spoken Word – This workshop “Shall I compare thee to a newscast spot?” on how to create one minute radio spots by Phyllis Fletcher and Robert Smith from New Public Radio will help you fine tune your storytelling through the spoken word. You will learn about the importance of your voice – the sound, cadence, pauses and inflections – to achieve high impact particularity for all your non-visual communications.

    The Written Word – Read E.B.White and William Strunk, Jr.’s The Elements of Style, a tiny but venerable guide, which is just as valuable today as when it was when first published in 1919.  The guide begins with sixty-three words that could change your world of writing: “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his [her] sentences short, or that he [she]  avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

    Picture It – Pictures, logos, videos and information graphics tell your story – your brand – in much less than a thousand words. There are many free online how-to articles about designing effective logos, choosing your social media photos, and creating videos to engage your audience. YouTube, for example, has some great tutorials for creating digital stories, and a section within YouTube (sponsored by Google and American Express) that allows a small business to create digital stories with professional-quality video, replete with graphics, editing, and sound.

    4. Review, Edit, Rewrite. Always remember that, like a traditional on-the-ground network, your virtual brandraising network needs nurturing and on-going maintenance. Keep it fresh and up-to-date. If you limit your postings to once a year or even once a month, it connotes a certain lack of interest and commitment or, even worse, that you really don’t know what you are doing!

    5. Listen to Your Critics. Once you post what you consider a wise or erudite tidbit, be open to feedback – both positive and negative. That interchange or exchange of information and insights is the real value added – the way we learn.

    6. Stay Ahead of the Message. Know who you are online. If you think you control your online fate by not participating in any Social Media Networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, you must think again. Even better, try popping your name into Google’s search window.

    And, while you’re in a pro-active mode, check out these classic tips in How To Be Remembered from fellow blogger Liza Barone.

     

  • Advanced Style: A Sight for Sore Eyes

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    More than a sight, Ari Seth Cohen’s new book, Advanced Style, is a testament to the art of being oneself – forever!

    In his introduction, Cohen writes, “I have never considered ‘old’ a bad word. To be old is to be experienced, wise and advanced. The ladies [in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 100’s] I photograph challenge stereotypical views on age and aging. They are youthful in mind and spirit and express themselves through personal style and individual creativity. The soul of Advanced Style is not bound to age or even style, but rather to the celebration of life.”

    Ari Seth Cohen and Mimi Weddell

    In this blog we have often addressed originality and the important ways in which that originality or style is our unique brand and our selling point as we seek to remain active in the work force or re-invent ourselves. Most recently, we noted in our ode to Edith Piaf, No Regrets: Have the Courage to Live a Life True to Yourself.

    Creativity can and should be pro-active for, as George Eliot said,  “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

    The Grande Dames photographed by Cohen share their own nuggets of wisdom:

    “Elegance is refined with age.”

    “Style is above all, the right attitude.”

    “Fashion says ‘me too,’ while style says ‘only me.'”

    “If you try to imitate too much, you will look like nothing. Never compare, you are you!”

    “We must dress every day for the theatre of our lives.”

    In her forward to Advanced Style, Maira Kalman, a fashionista in her own right , as well as an illustrator, author, artist, and designer, says, “Ari Cohen has done something very important. He has looked at our grand population and singled out the people that, in a way, are most invisible and have the most to offer.”

    “We are lucky,” Kalman continues, “when any older person crosses our path. Our lives are enriched just by proximity. The wisdom. The spirit. The saying exactly what they think. The dispensing of advice. The courage. The humor. The crankiness. The kindness. Or the iconoclasm. All of these come from people who have lived a long life.”

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    Ahhhh…. that “buy a hat” is also key for Mimi Weddell, one of Cohen’s many elegant ladies (pictured in the photo with Cohen, above), who said of her life, “I can’t imagine going without a hat. The only romantic thing left in life is a hat.”

    My grandmother always wore a hat and I adored her. My great Aunt Dell wore her hat at a saucy angle as she fearlessly maneuvered her ambulance across the battlefields of France in WW I. Here’s to all the Grand Dames in our lives!

     

     

  • Seven Self-Marketing Tips

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    Courtesy babacita.com

    Fast Company Magazine published a terrific article in this week’s Co.Design section called “7 Steps for Creating New Retailing Experiences.”  True, its ideas and innovative examples are aimed at retailers, but what I found extraordinary is how these  “7 Steps”  are just as valuable for individuals keen on boosting their own self-marketing.

    The article begins, “To truly design a great experience that’s right for your company, we need to look beyond the field of design to sociology, economics, organizational behavior, and even theater. These seven principles will help you be strategic about the experiences you design and choose the right script for your company.”

    Take a look at their tips and see if you don’t think they might apply to your image experience as well as Starbucks:

    1. Experience design is not about luxury. Southwest Airlines, for example, applies a combination of heart, humor, and efficiency as a distinctly Southwest script for air travel that’s different from the norm.

    The “Premium” is what separates you from the rest of the pack – no matter if you’re a chincilla or a chipmunk. See our posting,  Creativity and the Power of Imagination – for CEOs as Well as Wizards!

    2. Start with empathy. Understanding and challenging social scripts requires stepping into your customers’ shoes.

    Remember Leonardo’s “Working Resume?”

    3. Do your own thing.…. People will value originality as long as you continue to serve their needs.

    Take a look back at our Your Originality: How to Capture and Market It 

    4. Utilize all elements of theater. Create an immersive world with consistent rules. To reinforce the script, think of the whole experience as a “play,” including the cast, costumes, set, and props.

    Details, details, details – or as we posted earlier: Rabbits, Privet Hedges and a Planters Peanut Bar: How John Updike Brought What Is Peculiar to the Moment to Glory

    5. Use different incentives to create different behaviors. Align your people, including their incentives and motivations, with the desired experience.

    Remember our contribution from Australia,  Color Your Way to Success: Learn What Colors Reveal About You and The Organization Where You Think You’d Like to Work

    6. The devil is in the trade-offs. The experience you offer should have a clear point of view.

    Focus, focus, focus –
    Thanks Be To Shakespeare: Those Telling Details in the Story Behind Your Resumé Really Do Matter

    7.  Evolve to stay relevant. Never stop prototyping and testing changes to make the experience better and to change in step with people’s needs.

    Reinventing yourself You Have to Step Out of the Batting Cage to Hit A Home Run!


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