Tag Archives: Einstein

Your Personal Brand Matters…. But Do You Believe You? (The Monday Fits)

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“Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value”. The quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein. Either way, it is one of my favorite quotes for multiple reasons. This particular quote has resonated with me since I was in high school when my mother was trying to instill in me the importance of a moral code and inner ethics before anything else. As we get older, balancing what’s right or wrong versus our self-interest can be a difficult task.  Not that you can remember exactly how it felt, but as a child there was so much more clarity in deciding what was right and wrong. The line was bright, loud and clear. Then as you begin to lose your innocence, some people younger than others, it’s as if that line begins to fade almost to black if you let it. The need to continually pursue the right thing is a challenge for all of us (or shall I say most of us).

The more I have become immersed into social media, business marketing, and personal promotion, there is something that is talked about over and over, and it’s called branding. Now you have business branding and marketing and the wave of personal branding continues to be more important now than ever.  But it feels as if you can have branding for just about anything that needs an image or has  a message to give to the world. Today, media has a huge impact on a brand. Our personal brand matters more than ever before and LinkedIn has made branding yourself an important component for even getting a job.

As with anything, when something is important for people there are more than a baGILLLION how-to books, [whatever topic] 101 articles and 50 ways to improve X. There is no shortage of information about how to effectively brand. And here’s why, “The average western consumer is exposed to some 3,000 brand messages a day.” (source)

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That’s right, 3,000. So how did we get here? Let’s take a look how branding became popular. “Personal branding, self-positioning and all individual branding by whatever name, was first introduced in 1937 in the book “Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill”(source). But it wasn’t until the 1980’s the idea resurfaced, and Tom Peters popularized the term “brand” with a 1997 article. (source)  But when thinking of branding, to get a better picture of branding, we have to look at business branding, which made brand management, messaging and public perception what it is today.

“In the 1950s, consumer packaged goods companies like Procter and Gamble, General Foods and Unilever developed the discipline of brand management….[they] required an understanding of the target consumer and what we call a “branded proposition” that offered not only functional but also emotional value.”  This emotional value is the component that would allow companies to charge more for its products. “This marked the start of almost 50 years of marketing where “winning” was determined by understanding the consumer better than your competitors and the getting the total “brand mix” right. The brand mix is more than the logo, or the price of a product. It’s also the packaging, the promotions, and the advertising, all of which is guided by precisely worded positioning statements”. (source)

And as the world becomes more global,  digital brands, in my opinion, try to be more more personal and “humanistic”. More and more CEOs, VPs, and successful businesspersons are available and visible. Figuring out who your ideal employees and consumers is easier, and therefore, the  need for your personal brand has gradually become important. So Wikipedia defines personal branding, as the “practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. While previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal-branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging.” (source)
Now I am not here to add to the plethora of branding information out there, and by no means am I branding professional. But I am a natural (extreme) extrovert and one of those weirdos that genuinely enjoys networking unlike the average person. For a long time, I thought the idea of personal branding was just silly. In the sense, why do people need to “buy” into me based on the way I package myself and create some emotional response to who I am. See, if you are around a lot of people, you naturally are able to feel or sense one’s emotional response. I have come to recognize that this is not the case online, and there is a shift in digital world that we live in. It is important to brand yourself. There are so many messages and it is easier to mistake your message online than in an one on one interaction.

When I network, and if you do it enough, you can get a sense of what people are feeling, what they like or dislike based on body language, facial expressions, etc. You sometimes cannot gauge how a consumer or person will react digitally, but you have to put your best foot forward. On the flip side, because we consume so much digitally, it is important now than ever, that our in-person interactions are genuine, because we have less of them, and your first impression may be the only one. So yeah, I kind of have bought into this idea that branding can be important.

I am not exactly sure why I decide to write about this topic, but there is one idea that I want you to take away from all of this. The most important branding that one can do is the brand you are to yourself. You can try to fool others to think what they will about you. You must first have the message right within before you can communicate a message to your friends, your family, let alone a business or professionally. Figuring out what you stand for, and believing it. It’s the idea, if you are not  willing to drink your own kool-aid, then why would anyone else. How do you do this? Self-reflection. What are you reflecting in the pool? Now this is not a discussion on HOW you should be, if being evil is your thing and that’s your prerogative, then own that story you are telling, before you invest in convincing someone else. You must be of one mind.

The best business brands usually believe in the brands that they are selling. Although money and success can be great motivators for making a brand successful, the best brands believe in themselves, and also hire people who also believe in them as well. One thing customers hate more than being bombarded by all of these numerous messages, is being lied to. At the end of the day, your brand is a promotion of you. If you are promoting XYZ, and you’re ABC, then it doesn’t matter if you hire the best branding professional, your true self will always comes through. There is no way of hiding it, and you shouldn’t want to. This is not just about believing in yourself, it’s about believing in what your selling. Sell to yourself first, if you’re not buying, then no one else will. REFLECT.

What’s With the Middle Class? (The Monday Fits)

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“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein


It’s time to be a little direct. There is something wrong with the middle class. Politicians, theorists, and writers tell us time and time again, that the middle class is the social class that matters most. “Depending on the class model used, the middle class constitutes anywhere from 25% to 66% of households”, but the most legit models all have the middle class as the majority. (Source)  More pointed, many believe that the continuing existence of America depends on the success of the middle class. I would say the middle class has a lot of power.  The upper and lower middle class, create the largest voting bloc, yet we do very little with this power to influence. Instead, we are the ones who are influenced, let others speak for us, and define our future. (Trust me – Google – What does the middle class care about, middle class priorities, what is important to the middle class, the results are interesting)

So let’s look at #BaltimoreUprising. Many ponder how the events over the past two weeks could happen in an American city in 2015. Why they are pondering, I am not exactly sure, Ferguson feels like yesterday to me. I ponder more about what could be done to fix the problem, and do we really care enough to fix the problem? I found, as did many other Americans, the major network’s media coverage of the riots to be a farce and self-serving versus a balanced, honest coverage of the events that were occurring. More and more, we can’t rely on our mainstream media. There was peaceful protesting. There were rioters. There was unnecessary violence. But more times than not, there were teenages, adults, gang members, church members, and even local politicians protesting the violence against our young black men in America peacefully. Luckily, last week ended on a positive note, with indictments being served to the officers. Not because the officers are automatically assumed guilty, but justice, as best as it can be, will be served in a trial for those innocent till proven guilty officers.

Now back to the media. Would we, the middle class, ever protest and stop watching the inadequate mainstream media that continues to feed us crap. Would we ever demand more from them so that we could be a more informed class since we consume more of it then any other class? NO, NO and MORE NO. The first episode of HBO’s NEWSROOM so eloquently makes this point, and yet, we still allow ourselves to be bamboozled.  And the sad reality is that these passive behaviors do not only occur in the media we consume, it’s everywhere. So when I look at the events of Baltimore, yes, I do believe the middle class is the biggest problem. We are not demanding more of our politicians, of our cities, our governments, and we are not giving enough. We might not have enough time, our lives are stressful just like everyone else, but we also have the power to change things in the lives of our citizens who are less fortunate than ourselves.

There is no denying that we hold the largest voting bloc, and can potentially have the most influence. Yet, we do not use this power to our advantage, which would be fine, but when the results of our passivity comes upon us, we cannot act like we have no hand in the matter. If middle america doesn’t start waking up to the America as it is, the working class, and lower class will continue to grow. Karlyn Bowman and Jennifer Marsico write:

“In an Allstate/National Journal poll, 85 percent said that over the past few years, the number of Americans who had fallen out of the middle class is greater than the number who had earned or worked their way into it (11 percent).(source)

Many would think that we should look to the wealthy and those with more resources to fix the problem. Do you know what they spend their money on? They spend their money convincing us of whatever they want us to believe, and we fall for it every time. They know more about us, than we know about ourselves: that we have more power to fix our problems than we realize. Reihan Salam  on Slate writes:

“We often hear about the political muscle of the ultrarich. Billionaires like the libertarians Charles and David Koch and Tom Steyer, the California environmentalist who’s been waging a one-man jihad against the Keystone XL pipeline, have become bogeymen for the left and right respectively. The influence of these machers is considerable, no doubt. Yet the upper middle class collectively wields far more influence.These are households with enough money to make modest political contributions, enough time to email their elected officials and to sign petitions, and enough influence to sway their neighbors. ” (Source)

And he’s just talking about the upper middle class. We choose to fall for advertising and what the “machine” give us. When the Koch brothers came out a few weeks ago about having Republican candidates vie for 300 million dollars, where was the outrage? It was like the Koch brothers were ring masters making them perform like circus animals. Every republican candidate or potential candidate should have been appalled and ALL of them should have revolted. I found it very insulting, but I guess I was the only one. Because all of the candidates understand one thing, that they need the money. Not because they need money, most of the candidates have more money than you or I, but they need the money to FOOL us, TRICK us, to feed us some story. Now, it’s not a Republican thing, Hillary and the other democrats are ripe to play to middle america too, cause we got the power and we don’t know how to use it. We have the ability to go against policies, regulations, or actions that are not in our best interest, and make everyone pay attention! Not to be trite, but if we had just an ounce of the revolutionary spirit of our forefathers, we may could get things on track. Its time to throw tea off a harbor.

Anyone should be able to see from the Baltimore riots, that there are systematic, generational problems that are plaguing the community as  in other urban cities across the country. Some people cannot recognize this. They are the ones who want us to focus on buildings and the damage. Seriously, CVS can afford to fix that damn building, trust me, but some of the families in the community do not know if they will have a roof over their head next week AND their caregiver IS working 2 or 3 jobs. The next group of people believe that money is the biggest problem, and having more money or throwing money will fix the problem. Well, if we’re talking about giving more Americans working a living wage, then YES, more money could help. “In 2012, 2.9 million Americans worked full-time jobs and still lived below the poverty line. Some 22 percent of our children live in poverty, and it’s worse for African American youth—38 percent—and Hispanic children—34 percent”. (source) 

But the reality is that it takes people. It takes creating capacity in our communities to help break through the strongholds poverty has on these  families, and not let those in charge fall into corruption. It takes more than a village, it’s takes us all. And since we’ll never get 100% participation, make sure you’re not one of the  people who is unwilling to make a difference.

I don’t like to be too definitive in my posts, because I prefer for people to make their conclusions and start their own conversations. We just are not doing enough. I may have a slight bias, because I am raising money for my community, and I see people who will not offer a dime to it, but will pay all kinds of money to see artists who do not NEED their money.  But more importantly, I see too many people in my own sphere, not just my close friends and friends, but people I work with, drink with, network with, are more likely to be doing everything to make their lives and loved ones better, but not much else. If the only things you can do is go to work, take care of your family, kids, and not much else, just imagine doing the same thing, each and every day but what you do isn’t enough to put food on your table, pay your rent, you’re not on welfare because you have a job, your spouse has a job. You are not a “statistic”, but you can’t make enough to get by. And every time your child walks out the house, you have to worry if they will make it home alive. Wouldn’t you cry out for help? Poverty, more times than not is a systematic, generational curse, that is easy to leave only for a few. You can continue to be passive and act as if it’s not your problem, and wait till it’s at your front door. Will you be more worried about the buildings and pass the blame, or will you look at the mirror and realize that you could’ve done more. Don’t let that happen, just do more now.

M/P