If you’re in sales, marketing or a public speaker interested in maximizing their brand and image, think about hiring a stylist.

Your initial reaction may be similar to my first thoughts. “That’s way out of my league and too expensive.”

The truth is, a talented stylist is worth their weight in gold – especially if you want to look and feel your best and command the room with confidence and style.

If (and when) you hire a stylist, be willing to be vulnerable and open to suggestions. Your wardrobe advisor and image consultant has been trained, not just in the fashion sense, but in what flatters your body type. What you see as faults, have been seen thousands of times by other stylists and studied.

And yes, there are solutions.Beautiful young stylist near rack with hangers

Your flaws can be minimized and your most attractive features accentuated with a stylist’s recommendations and guidelines.

Here are 5 Reasons to Hire a Stylist: 

  1. After you’re over the initial, OMG, I can’t believe I’m hiring a stylist, you’ll realize that a stylist is a spot coach — just like I’m a spot coach for PR, small business marketing and free publicity. A stylist helps their clients look their best and improve their image with wardrobe essentials. You are your brand wherever you go. So, look fantastic!
  2. A stylist looks at you with different eyes than you look at yourself.  A trained professional sees your assets, not the negative parts of yourself you want to blink away. Stylists have your image, lifestyle and brand in mind for how you want to show up. They have a strategy in mind and a plan. Follow it to get noticed.
  3. Love the fact that your stylist is connected.  They’ll hook you up with their A-list of resources, tailors and beauty folk. They’ll share their favorite store contacts and will call ahead to make sure you’re treated like a VIP. Guys, listen up. This includes you too. The secrets of stylists could save you thousands of dollars and time that you don’t have.
  4. Shopping can be as easy as you like. It’s possible that you’ll fall in love with your UPS or Fed Ex driver every day when they show up with new outfits. Feel weird about all the attention? Love yourself more and more as you look in the mirror and experiment with new styles. Imagine yourself in front of your audience with only two thoughts; how great you look and how much they want to buy from you. (Think positive, right)?
  5. A paid speaker or professional should look like the price they’re charging. Say you’re charging $2500 for a workshop. Shouldn’t your outfit reflect your expertise and the richness of your work? Heck, yeah. Step into your power and awesomeness!  Upgrade your look to be consistent with your talent, skill and offer.

I’m a fan of virtual styling and like to look at clothes on line because it’s relaxing.  Others like meeting their stylists at their favorite stores, or wherever they’re told to go. Every person and situation is unique.

If you invest in your education and mentoring, why not invest in your wardrobe and image.

Tie everything together for maximum impact.

After all, it’s your PR and marketing brand we’re talking about.

Over Memorial Day, I had a tremendous opportunity to go to Charleston and Savannah. They’re both beautiful cities, each with a style their own.  If I had to choose where to live, it would be a tough decision – but I think Savannah would probably win!

Walking through Savannah, you can’t help but feel the historical energy of the city – and more than a kick of new and funky style.

Businesses are booming here and a steady flow of street traffic and out of town visitors allows marketers to get ‘city-specific’ to attract their target audience.

What better way than car wrapping!

I love this photo because it’s mobile advertising at its best, taking the concept of the tour company’s service one step further by adding an extra detail, a passenger!

SpookyVan

If you think mobile marketing is just having a smart phone compatible website, think again.

It’s scary what you can do when you get creative!

Here’s to this ghostess with the mostess, promoting her brand.

Ever since I was a kid, I always liked to talk. I wasn’t necessarily a Chatty Cathy, but I loved the opportunity to share my thoughts and sit at the grownups table to listen and give my two cents.  My parents encouraged table talk and it seemed natural, so eventually I went to school for Public Communication.

Fast forward quite a few years, and I still like to talk.

Only now, it’s lead to speaking– on stage, at workshops and to small groups who have interest in promoting themselves or their businesses.  I’ve had several opportunities to speak recently and each time I’m grateful, humbled, excited, nervous and experience a range of emotions – including getting choked up when I’m speaking my truth!

In preparing a speech or talk, the lion’s share of the work is done beforehand– researching your audience, connecting with insiders and choosing your stories and words carefully – to elicit an emotion, inspire a call to action or teach, without preaching.

Inspiration can come from many places and sometimes my inspiration comes from TED talks. You may know their tagline as ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’.

Below I’ll do my part today and ‘spread’ these ideas on design, marketing and branding.  Let me know what you think!

What physics taught me about marketing.

Design is in the details!

The greatest TED talk ever sold.

One last mention. Did you know there’s a TED talk app? I downloaded it to my phone so whenever I have 10 minutes or an hour to wait somewhere — I can choose a talk that inspires me at the moment and listen.

I call that Inspiration on Demand.

Today, I’ll be the keynote speaker at Fresno State in California to kick off #GoBrandYourself week. I’m excited to teach personal branding tips and strategies to a college audience who are eager to jump in, get experience and find a job in the communications industry.

With unemployment in Fresno hovering near 9%, my goal is to help these students stand out from a crowd, define their personal brand, use social media platforms powerfully and expand their networks. So they can ROCK IT!

At some point after the keynote, I’ll share my talk. But, before that happens, I wanted to give you a few personal branding tips you can implement right now.

Before you do anything else, I encourage you to create a personal brand statement. This article by Jörgen Sundberg explains that first, you need to know the answers to these three questions:

• What value you provide (what problem do you solve)
• How you do it uniquely (your USPs – unique selling points)
• Whom you do it for (your target audience)

In our second article, Jim Joseph states for Entrepreneur magazine that “each of our personal brands began at birth. When Mom and Dad gave us a name, they unknowingly launched a new brand, the first of a lifetime of personal decisions that makes us each uniquely our own being — or brand. From that day forward, we spend our lives living up to our given name.” I’ve really never thought of it this way – but it is so true!

Jim says (and I couldn’t agree more): “A personal brand, like any good brand, needs to be consciously managed and controlled throughout our lives.

Once you know what it means to have and create a personal brand, and you know what you stand for, take a look at our third article from Inc Magazine that walks you through 7 steps to build an awesome personal brand. By looking at each of these steps, you can take the appropriate action to #GoBrandYourself.

I hope you will #GoBrandYourself by being who you really are, not who you think you should be.

Believe me, it’s a work in progress! Tweak, Tweet and Retweet!

As my clients have expanded into greater speaking roles, so have I, and it’s an exciting process to learn and share tips and processes to make a more dynamic presentation.

It’s a given that you have a message to deliver that’s powerful and targeted to your audience. But I’d like to make a few key suggestions to help you go from good to great – so you can deliver a talk that has impact.

These marketing tips can be used for a keynote speech, like the one I’m delivering for #GoBrandYourself week at Fresno State, but also in talks that aren’t designated to kick off an event or end a conference.

Speaking to a group can influence an audience to take action, up-level your branding and create a PR trail that you can’t get engaging one on one.

3 Keys to a Better Keynote (or speech):

  • Do you have a list of questions to ask the organizer or the person that’s hiring you? Get clear on  who your audience really is, what their challenges are and how you’ll share solutions. Questions can be as simple as, “who’s the greatest success story in the room,” or (yikes) “will someone try to undermine me (ie, is there a trouble maker in the room that I need to be aware of)?” There are about 30 questions on my pre-event questionnaire and knowing the answers to most of these in advance of your stage debut will help you – beyond words.  Trust me. Take the time to do your homework.
  • Have you asked if you’ll have your own dedicated A/V technician or are you running solo? From experience, don’t go solo if you have a choice! Ask who your A/V technician will be and an hour before your presentation meet him/her. Bring your presentation on your laptop or other device, plus have it on a flash drive as a safety factor. Also, consider tipping your A/V person $10 before you begin. Tipping doesn’t always work to ensure better service, but in my world it does.  I like to have someone in my corner who has my back (and mic) before I go on stage.  You?
  • If you’re mic’d/miked , be aware that your microphone is always on, until you shut it off. I’ve heard horror stories of toilets flushing and conversations which should have been private while someone was miked.  To ask — will you be using a hand held microphone which is a little more difficult if it’s a long speech, or a lavalier? Ladies, FYI, if you’re using a lavalier, make sure you’re comfortable with your under layers (or jacket off) while you’re getting ‘hooked up’.  No wink intended.

There are multiple platforms for you to share your message.  Speaking is just one avenue, compounded by social media and other targeted marketing.

What’s most important is that you share your brilliance, in any way you can.

Find your target audience, speak from your heart and rock it!

Here’s to your success,

Branding today doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  In fact, one of my greatest pleasures is teaching clients how to promote themselves using low-cost and often free tips, tricks and tools for high impact publicity and social media exposure.

One critically important element of branding is your avatar or photo – the consistent image you’ll use on all of your social media platforms. Your avatar is a representation of who you are on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, You Tube and anywhere online where you post comments or questions.

A few comments on Avatars:

  • An avatar is a very small photo or representation of you. Not sure how to create one? Check out  www.Gravatar.com.
  • Unless you’re a big company (think Coca-Cola, Zappos) don’t use a logo. Use a photo of yourself that doesn’t include a plant sticking out of your head, someone’s arm cut off around your shoulder, or with your favorite can of brew.
  • Remember that you are your brand wherever you go. Please make your image professional, consistent with your reputation and where you’re going in your career.
  • Photos last a lifetime on the internet and they’re dragged up often unexpectedly and to your surprise.
  • You may think it’s funny (today) to post a ‘joke of a photo or picture’ as your avatar, but unless you think you’re a joke, think twice. Not only are you your brand wherever you go, that’s how you’ll be remembered on line – like it or not.
  • Avatars help people be recognized. More than a handful of times I’ve been noticed in a crowd based on the photo (avatar) someone recognized online and offline promoting my brand.

And oh, did I mention, your avatar should  look like you? Not 20 years ago, or 50 pounds ago. An avatar represents you, in real life.

Your best self.

Love your best self,it’s the only one you’ve got!

From my avatar to yours, all the best!

I’ve had the opportunity to travel in many circles – with students who are launching their careers, professionals on the path to success, and CEO’s who run multi-million dollar companies. The brightest of the bunch have characteristics of the “rich and famous” and exude confidence, abundance and a can do attitude in life. More of a why not, than why.

When winners promote themselves, they become who they want to be and step into that role looking ahead, never behind. After all, opportunities are in today’s world, not yesterday’s.

The rich and famous, and those on their way up, share these promotion secrets:    

  • They Act the Part. It takes time, planning and a boatload of confidence acting as if on the path to success. Forward thinking and inspired action to meet your goals trumps the sad sack, sit at home blues. Show up as the person you want to be, everywhere you go. And remember, you’re not an imposter, you’re a creator.
  • The Rich and Famous Attract a Great Support Team. You can’t be totally successful on your own, at least not for the long haul, without some help. It takes the dedication of a team to support you financially, physically and emotionally. And let’s add planning, communication, promotion and marketing to the mix. It takes time and focus to build and maintain a brand and a few thousand thank you’s along the way. Gratitude is more than an attitude.
  • They’re Willing to Give it Their All. A CEO once told me that he woke up at 5am every day to drive 90 miles so he could be the first one in the office. After the company went public, he heard from a co-worker, how lucky he was. “I worked while they slept,” was his comment. “I guess I was lucky I got up early.”  No one can stop you if you know what you want and are willing to work for it.

Act the Part, Play your Role and say Thank You – from your stage, or any stage in life.

 

As a Brand Ambassador and Promotions Expert who works with big and small brands, the question “what does branding really mean?” comes up often. Being on-brand, online branding, off line branding, brand awareness. One thing I’m very aware of is the money spent to see that it’s done right!

Brand it right or brand it wrong, being focused and on target with your messaging is important and key to establishing a look and feel — as well as a social identity for your product or service, and the revenue that it will generate.

This week, I’d like to share a few branding articles I hope you’ll find interesting;

First up, let’s look at 3 ways brands are marketing nostalgia in the age of throwback Thursday from Entrepreneur.com. “As millennials become increasingly important as customers, brands have started heaping on the nostalgia to woo them over.” If your target audience includes millennials, or any other older generation, take a look at this article on how to ‘reel them in’ using nostalgia!  (Remember Reading Rainbow?)

Next I’d like to share a video which is actually a Google Hangout On Air about ‘Branding for Small Businesses’. In this video, Lauren Zirilli, Vistaprint’s Director of Global Brand Strategy, talks about how small business can build their own brand. See what you think!

In Content Lessons From Three Brands That Kept Their Brand Promise (and Three That Didn’t) by Marketing Profs, we learn  that “content marketing has the power to help companies articulate and communicate the brand promise—which goes beyond a corporate mission statement. Marketers can craft content that shows what they really stand for.” One of the three brands highlighted is Subway, with their lifestyle campaign, ‘Eat Fresh.’

How is your brand standing out online and is your brand message consistent with your marketing message?

I’m not the most active networker in the world, but I love to keep in touch with my colleagues and friends during the holidays. And, being a long standing member of a few groups, I especially like to reconnect and see a familiar face (or ten) when there’s no pressure – just to have a good time.

Last night, I had the pleasure of going to one of my Boston networking Holiday parties where I’ve been a member of years. Colleagues I haven’t seen in some time approached me saying things like:

“I read your newsletter all the time and want to talk the first week of January about a new project.”

“Your Cyber Monday promotion was a great idea and I should have taken advantage of it. Can I get feedback on a couple of ideas?

“I’m so glad you’re joining my group and your workshop idea is perfect for our members.  Maybe you can be on my advisory board?”

Not only was I having a great time, learning a couple of new dance steps (I’m rusty on that one), I also took the initiative and approached a new rum company with an amazing product and talked about representing his brand in the marketplace (after a sample or two).

The point is, business and pleasure can be mixed and when you’re not looking for the next ‘big thing’, doors open and conversations begin. Opportunities present themselves all the time, and it’s our attitude and openness that welcome them.

How will you welcome new business this Holiday Season?

I hope with a smile, handshake and for the chosen few, a meaningful hug.

PS – Lots going on in the Partner Promotions world. And so looking forward to a fun and prosperous 2015! How ‘bout you?  Share your thoughts and let me know why…

White Iphone 5S With Site Youtube On The Screen And Headphones L‘Viral’ and ‘Video’ are two words that go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Think #icebucketchallenge and you know what I’m talking about!

How can you leverage this moving forward into 2015? Here’s one way — get recording and publishing your own videos! It’s not as hard as it looks or sounds and if you’re in budget mode now, put some money into your marketing plan for creating video. Whether you’re teaching, promoting or ‘splainin’ á la I Love Lucy, video is an investment in yourself and your business, and honestly, there are no substitutions for who you really are!

Here are a few great resources to help you get in the video marketing mood:

First up is “4 Ways To Elevate your Personal Brand With Video” via the Huffington Post by Sunny Lenarduzzi. The take away? “Nothing showcases your personality better than video. Whatever brand you are looking to create, give it real thought, and then put it to the test. Along the way, you’ll make lots of mistakes, but the key is to pick yourself up and make the right enhancements.”

Second is an article by one of my favorite blogs, Marketing Profs. “Mixing Video With Email Marketing: Four Inspiring Examples and Three Quick Tips” by Emily Konouchi. “Video can be key to conversions and sales…but a recent study confirms for email marketers, using video should be a no-brainer; but the email-video combo still feels like a rare pairing.” If you can believe it, not more than 25% of marketers use video in their email marketing! Let’s change those statistics, shall we?

Looking ahead, here’s an infographic with “10 Video Marketing Trends for 2015.” The trends are very revealing and can provide a road map of what types of videos to create in 2015 and how to ‘humanize’ a brand.

I’m editing my own videos over the next two weeks and hope to share them with you soon. Practice makes perfect, though imperfection makes us unique!