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Personal Branding: Bullet Proof Your Reputation

Mary Rosenbaum | January 11th, 2011

On November 4, 1979 Ted Kennedy was interviewed by Roger Mudd prior to Kennedy’s announcement that he was going to run for President. A five minute segment of that interview changed the course of his political career. After 17 years of service in the Senate and after successfully combating the potential career destroying effects of the car crash on Chappaquiddick in1969, he did in a few minutes what his detractors couldn’t accomplish in years. What happened?

Roger Mudd asked him “Why do you want to be President?” Kennedy, who was known for his ability to think quickly and articulate his thoughts clearly, stumbled through a response that left a huge question mark over his real reasons for running for office. It was clear to everyone who watched that interview that Kennedy was not following his own calling but rather going through the motions based on a script written by someone else.

Those few minutes on television provided an audience of millions the opportunity to see Kennedy respond to the question with an inauthenticity that bordered on deceit. As a result of this interview, he lost his credibility as a viable candidate, his following, and the nomination. He lost the trust of his followers, damaging his reputation through a conspicuous lack of transparency and authenticity. Although he was able to rehabilitate his reputation over his many years of service and was admired and loved for his work, his Presidential aspirations were derailed forever.

Your reputation, your personal brand, reflects who you are in all you do and impacts what people thought of you yesterday and what they will think of you tomorrow. It is character defining. And strong character is what we all look for in those with whom we build relationships. In fact, the definition of character includes:

-the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual

-the strength and originality in a person’s nature

-a person’s good reputation

Reputation is your competitive advantage. A solid reputation not only allows you to be in the game but it influences your ability to get that promotion, win the account, or make the sale.

To be sure you earn a reputation you can be proud of, the values and qualities you want to embody are:

1. Honesty – be who you say you are. In a world where your reputation and past actions can easily be discovered through vast social networks, both online and offline, truth is easier to maintain than fiction. Connecting to your past today is just a mouse click away.

2. Authenticity – stay true to your values, passion and purpose. Living authentically helps you live a more fulfilled life, stay engaged and be at the top of your game because you are doing what you want and you are doing it well. People like to connect with those who are fully engaged and passionate about what they do.

3. Transparency – let them see how you do what you do. Transparency eliminates any questions regarding your purpose or your methods, another building block in developing trust.

4. Providing Merit – deliver what you promise and always make it your best. When you provide value you earn respect, develop relationships and easily build your tribe of supporters.

5. Consistency – delivering on your promise each and every time. Consistency results in building credibility and trust, the foundations of a successful career, business, and personal life.

6. Patience and Perseverance- your reputation is not built in a day. It is earned every day through your actions and behavior. Understanding what your reputation is, how it is growing, and seeking out new ways to improve your behaviors are key to continued success, professionally and personally.

Although it takes a great deal of time to build your reputation, it takes very little time to destroy it. A perfect example of someone who has been unable to rehabilitate a severely damaged reputation and career is Mel Gibson. It took one drunken moment to start the downward spiral his career has taken. Only time will tell whether he can reverse this trend but based on his activities and comments since then, it is doubtful.

So build your character, earn and bullet proof your reputation and you will surely strengthen your personal brand.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

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Do What You Love, Love What You Do!

Mary Rosenbaum | December 16th, 2010

I am sure you have already thought about what you want for yourself for the New Year. Health, happiness and success are certainly up there with subheadings that include making more money, getting more clients, receiving that promotion, meeting Mr. or Ms. Right, staying healthy, exercising more, having more fun, etc.

I thought I would like to share my list with you – all under the major heading of: 
Do What You Love and Love What You Do!

1. Innovate: The only way for you to do this is to keep learning, growing, and being open to new ways to solve old problems. One thing I have learned as a career professional is that change is a constant. I love what I do and one reason why I am passionate about my chosen profession is the ability to be creative, to keep things new and interesting.

2. Collaborate: You may think you are great at everything (and maybe you are) but the best way to be successful in your career or business is to collaborate with those who can provide value in areas   a)you may not enjoy  b)you may not be as good at as they are    c)that take time away from work that you want to do    d)that take time away from work that keeps you on brand, on target, and profitable.

And besides, it’s more fun to collaborate, share the burden, learn from each other, while gaining the benefit of focusing on what you really want to do.

3. Build Your Tribe: Find others who you can support and who can support you and connect them with each other. The more connections you make for them, the stronger your tribe and the greater the bonds between all of you.

4. Define Your Brand: Be clear on what your value added is, on how you want to be perceived by others, and on being authentic in everything you do. Stay on brand and you will remain focused on your goals.

5. Take A Stand: Stand out by taking a stand. Be clear on what you believe in, what you offer, and why. Strong brands are not wishy washy. Give opinions that are based in fact and experience and you will attract those who admire you for it.

6. Reach High: Set your goals so they are a reach and not a slam dunk. Keep the rules for goals setting in mind: Keep goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-frame specific.

7. Give Back: Always look for ways to help those who need it. If you are fortunate enough to be working or own a business that is doing well, look for ways to help others on their way up. Also, helping others through charities is another great way to give back. So give, give often, give willingly, and give of yourself.

Feel free to add to this list and if you feel inclined, share with all of us as part of your giving back.

Happy New Year!

I look forward to continuing our conversation in 2011.


Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

Marketing: Lead With Your Beliefs

Mary Rosenbaum | October 7th, 2010

Recently I listened to this TED Talk by Simon Sinek called How Great Leaders Inspire Action. He turns the whole concept of marketing to clients, customers or prospective employers inside out.

What’s the most common way you market your services or your product? Nine times out of ten you sell your services or product or even yourself this way:

What you do, what product or service you provide

How you do it, your differentiating qualities, benefits

Why you do it, your beliefs and values

Sinek believes that successful marketing starts with the Why, then the How, and ultimately the What. One of the examples he gives to illustrate this point is Apple. Apple’s marketing goes something like this:

(Why)In everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo by (How) designing products that are easy to use, cutting edge, pushing the envelope, making sure we keep you ahead of everyone else. (What) Oh, by the way, we make computers and phones.

Who does this appeal to? Anyone who wants to be cutting edge, wants to be the first to have or use the product, who believes in challenging the status quo. Customers are attracted to the company (and its products) because they share the same beliefs.

How does this apply to you? Lead with your beliefs – your values and passions define your beliefs. I always say that people do business with people they like. Another way to look at this is that people are attracted to those who have similar beliefs and values. Marketing based solely on the product or service and its benefits doesn’t raise the bar high enough. Eventually the competition will catch up and then you are just back to a discussion on price – a commodity, not a differentiated or unique service or product.

So take the time and watch the video. It’s worth the 18 minutes you invest. I would love to hear your views on the content.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

Personal Branding: Even Ballet Dancers Are Doing It

Mary Rosenbaum | September 22nd, 2010

If you are in a business that provides a product or service you know that the competition for business is stronger than ever. Your affect on the experience of your client or customer lasts a lot longer than the work you provide or the product you sell. That experience supersedes the brand name of the company, even having the power to strengthen or weaken the impact of that brand.

Clients and customers today want to “connect” on a more personal level than ever before. Perhaps the impersonal experience of purchasing something on the internet has created a demand for a more humanized experience whenever possible, even in places you would least expect it. Another reason is that there are more quality choices available today so one of the distinguishing factors is the overall experience a client has with you and your company.

There was an article in the NY Times the other day describing how the New York City Ballet Company was trying to humanize the experience of attending the ballet. Their management believes that audiences today want to “connect” on a more personal level with those who perform on stage. Consequently they have their dancers meet with audience members before performances to talk about their every day experiences, answer questions and in effect, connect one to one. Audience members get to know the dancers and are given the opportunity to relate to them as people, not just as performers on stage. Those who attended the talks felt the experience of watching them dance was greatly enhanced.

In a profession where mystique once reigned, dancers are coming down from the stage and letting their personalities show through.

What are you doing to “connect” with your clients?

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years, Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

Get Personal, Build Relationships and Have Fun Doing It

Mary Rosenbaum | July 14th, 2010

No one ever wants to be compared with a used car salesman (not that there is anything wrong with being a used car salesman) because it has always been shorthand for someone who is slick, dishonest, shallow, and self-interested. These qualities have never been considered attributes but in today’s world where connecting is an integral part of doing business, this type of behavior would be self defeating. Did you ever consider that you might be coming across differently than you think?

Recently I received a phone call from a stock broker pitching his company’s service. My name was on a prospect list made up of past clients. During our brief conversation he went into a monolog of the products and services his company offered and how I might benefit from them. The one thing he never did was connect with me. He seemed nice enough but I could just as easily have found the information he was giving me on the internet or the company’s website.

I wouldn’t say he came across as slick or dishonest, but he didn’t come across as expert, caring, personal, or unique. Rather than try to start a relationship which requires an investment of time he was focused on SELLING 101.

I know you are probably sitting at your computer reading this and saying “I don’t make cold calls so this doesn’t apply to me”. Have you ever attended a cocktail party, a conference, a networking event, a new client meeting? Do you whip out your business card after a few minutes? How do you break the ice? What do you talk about? Do you connect or do you sell?

Success in business is based on relationships. And relationship building is not only good for business; it’s fun if your intentions are genuine. So have fun and remember to:

1. Be Authentic – People have to like you. You may be selling the best product or service in the world, you may be the smartest person out there. If you don’t get people to connect with you on some level, to like you, you won’t get the business or do the deal or get the job. Be honest about who you are and let your personality show through. Connections are made memorable by sharing your stories, experiences, and passions – in other words, your personality.

2. Be Real – People have to trust you. I want to believe that you “care” about me and what I need and that you are not out to just close the deal or get the job. It’s a simple as Making Friends 101-  be curious and get to know them rather than sell them on you.

3. Be Giving – Generosity of spirit is integral to building relationships and of course, to being liked. Real relationships are not based on a quid pro quo. Give help, provide value without expecting anything in return. “Giving is it’s own reward.”

4. Be Consistent – Don’t change gears on me. I have to trust that if I decide to befriend you or hire you, you will consistently deliver on that promise of value.

5. Take Your Time – Make your goal getting to know them, not closing the deal. And that takes time. Lead times are long if you are building real relationships.

You never know, letting people you might not  consider “friend worthy”  into your life in an authentic way may yield some surprising results.

So let’s get to know each other and form some real relationships. Let me know what you think about this post and if there are topics you would like more information on – shout it out.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

Summertime and The Livin’ is Easy

Mary Rosenbaum | July 7th, 2010

Take advantage of the lazy hazy crazy days of summer and bulk up on some new ideas that you can incorporate in your business or career. Although business goes on as usual during these next few months, the slower pace can provide you with ample time to try something new.

Here are some ideas for you to make this summer productive and rewarding:

1. I have found that this is a great time to connect with those people you have always wanted to meet. Since relationship building is the cornerstone to a healthy business and career, this time of year is as good a time as any to extend yourself and grow your professional network. So reach out to thought leaders in your industry, leaders in your company, potential, past, and current clients, and colleagues both inside and outside your company and grow and solidify your universe of contacts.

2. Are there skills you want to master or courses you want to take that will help propel you forward toward your professional goals. Check out your local schools, libraries, and professional organizations for courses and lectures that might interest you.

3. Write an article, give a talk, start a blog – all of these are great ways to demonstrate your area of expertise and spread your personal brand.

4. Now might be a good time to update your resume or bio – it’s always wise to have updated materials ready should the need arise.

5. Summer is also a wonderful time to read some of those great books out there and pick up some new tools to help you with your business, your career, and your life (not to mention great summer beach reads). I am away on vacation this week and have had a chance to actually read some of those books that have piled up on my nightstand. Here is my list of what can make the summer (or winter for those of you who are reading this from somewhere down under) more interesting and productive:

“Drive” by Daniel Pink

“A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink

“Go Put Your Strengths to Work” by Marcus Buckingham

“The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell

“Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi

“Different” by Youngme Moon

“Tribes” by Seth Godin

And if you’re looking for something to take you away from all this then do read Stieg Larsson’s trilogy starting with “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”.

Do you have a favorite book? Whether it’s for work or play, please share your books with us. Do you have any other ways that you use this time productively? Let us know.

So enjoy the season, whatever season you are in, and use this time to grow, learn, and expand.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru

Marketing and Sales: Procrastination – The Enemy of Success

Mary Rosenbaum | June 10th, 2010

As someone who has always worked in positions where I was marketing and selling my services or the services of my company, I know how hard it can sometimes be to get yourself motivated and make those calls. And interestingly enough, it’s even harder when business is slower. That sounds like an oxymoron because when business is slow you

a) have the time to market and connect

b) should be more motivated to get business

Here are some techniques I use for getting off the fence and generating some new business:

1. Make a list of existing and former clients.

Make sure you are on target and properly servicing those clients still actively engaged with you and your company. Keeping your existing clients should always be a high priority. Reconnecting with past clients is also a good way of generating new assignments and keeping your name front and center in the event that a new project or assignment develops.

2. Make a list of everyone who has ever referred business.

If you haven’t done so already, start reconnecting and re-establishing your relationships. There is a fine line here between calling someone specifically for new referrals and calling someone to reconnect. Make sure the message you send is more reflective of the latter rather than the former. Focus on building and maintaining your relationships and staying top of mind.

3. Make a list of potential clients.

There are two categories in this group. The first category includes people or companies who can be considered low hanging fruit. How often have you neglected to follow up with people you met at events or conferences who expressed an interest in continuing the discussion? Or how about people who responded to your articles, attended seminars you gave, signed up for your website, asked for more information about your company, or maybe you were given some names of people who might have an interest but never followed up?

The second category includes companies or people who fall into your target audience but with whom you have no contact. This is where your personal network or your network on LinkedIn might be helpful. Learning as much as you can about people or companies who fall into this group would be instrumental in making your initial contact and taking it to the next level.

Developing relationships with potential clients is a longer term strategy and consequently should be an ongoing activity regardless of market conditions.

4. Eliminate unnecessary busy work.

We have all been there. It’s easy to get busy doing everything but what really needs to get done. Selling and marketing can be fun, especially when economic conditions are booming. It’s a lot harder to get yourself going when times are tough. Procrastination is the enemy of success.

So stop getting in your own way and move forward with purpose.

What other tools do you use to generate new leads and new business?

Follow me on Twitter @careersguru

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years, Mary Rosenbaum helps entrepreneurs and careerists position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Personal Branding – Developing Your Vision Statement

Mary Rosenbaum | April 13th, 2010

I thought this was an interesting read in light of my previous post on the importance of having a vision in developing your brand. Understanding your vision provides you with a direction for your business and your career. This article on how to develop your and your company’s vision statement in 24 words should help in developing your thought process. Let me know what you think.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years, Mary Rosenbaum helps entrepreneurs and careerists position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @careersguru

Vision, Passion, Purpose

Mary Rosenbaum | April 1st, 2010

Here is a great take on the value of Vision, Passion, and Purpose.  I saw this great video the other day on these three key elements that are integral in helping you define your authentic brand. Let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years, Mary Rosenbaum helps entrepreneurs and careerists position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

To Blog or Not to Blog, Benefits and Rules of Blogging

Mary Rosenbaum | February 1st, 2010

I am always being asked about the value of writing a blog. Is it worthwhile to spend the time especially since there have recently been a spate of articles on the proliferation of blogs and the diminishing value of their content? After all, how many different ways can similar ideas be presented and how do we know there are sufficient readers out there to make the time you spend writing worthwhile?

What would your purpose be in writing a blog? If you are an entrepreneur, a small business owner, a sole practitioner, or a careerist, the odds are that you want to grow your business, grow your reputation, gain greater visibility, and/or promote your career. What better way than to write about the issues affecting your clients or your industry in a way that helps your readers and provides them with some insight into how you think and what you know.

From a personal standpoint I know that writing a blog has solidified how people view me and my services in addition to generating new business. Writing and maintaining a blog enables me to:

1. Get my point of view out there for others to read and comment on

2. Convince or introduce people to new ways of thinking

3. Solidify my brand – what others think of me in their hearts and minds

4. Gets my name out there in front of people I may not have been able to reach otherwise

5. Provide other experts’ opinions and writings to my readers through links and references

6. Start a conversation and create a community with like minded people

7. Get input because I am always interested in learning from the experiences of others

In order to achieve these goals I make sure that I follow these rules when I post on my blog.

1. Don’t try to sell them anything. It should not be a sales piece for you or your business.
2. Offer information that would be valuable to your particular audience.
3. Be consistent, stay “on brand” to solidify how others view you and what you offer or do. If they expect you to write on particular topics, meet their expectations.
4. Maintain continuity and post regularly, if not every week then at least every other week.

5. Never bad mouth others (unless they are criminals or are already viewed as “bad guys” by the world).

When done correctly blogging can be a valuable tool to growing your career or business; but promoting your blog is critical to making the time you spend writing worthwhile. Using Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, as well as publishing on a variety of content related ezines you increase your readership exponentially.

Are there other benefits you derive from writing a blog? Are there other rules you adhere to when writing your posts? What other ways do you promote your blog?