Defining YOUR Personal Brand Image

Branding, creating, and maintaining your personal image can be a powerful tool in helping you become the type of professional that you want to be. But, why would someone want to brand themselves? Think about this in the way that you would think about how to market any product. If you were to market a new car you may talk about the cars features, such as gas mileage or how safe it is. You would also figure out who you are trying to market this car to. For instance, you would not want to market a two-door sports car to large family of six. Finally, when marketing a car, you will want to tell clients about the promises and guarantees that will separate this car from others like it. The style of marketing your personal brand is very similar.

You must market yourself by highlighting your individual features and emphasizing them to your potential managers and employers. You must know who in particular you are trying to target with your brand. And finally, what your individual brand message is and what you promise to accomplish in your occupation. By marketing yourself as a unique individual, knowing your target audience, and creating and maintaining your personal brand message and promise, you can develop a strong professional brand image. It is important to know who you are and what your existing personal brand is in order to further develop your image. Particularly, what makes you, you. By staying true to yourself first, you can begin to move your brand forward. Think about your personal beliefs and what type of person you are. These are the things that make you, you. Do not try to change who you are in order to develop an image. If you change and adapt who you are to create an image, you are not creating a personal brand image, but rather a generic brand image that will not allow you to emphasize what you offer specifically and on an individual level. Rather, you must grow your brand image from what you already possess. Focus on what makes you who you are and develop a professional brand image based on these existing attributes.

Once you have defined this personal existing brand, you can begin to address how you can make your brand different, set yourself apart, and grow your own unique brand image. For instance, what do you offer as a professional, and what can you bring to others? What are the skills that you possess that set you apart from the competition? These are the things that will make you stand out from others around you and positively grow your personal brand image. A positive attitude and confidence in your abilities and what you know you are capable of achieving are the first steps to developing your own unique and specific personal brand. Along with your individual attributes, it is important to develop skills that will help to set you apart from others around you. Focus on what you will do to go above and beyond the competition. This will help you to create that unique brand image that will take potential clients from possibly needing your services, to them wanting the services and skills that they know you offer. It is also important to focus on strong communication skills with your potential clients. This can be a positive step to boosting your personal brand by creating a strong relationship between yourself and your clientele, and will also help you to maintain this positive relationship.

Your unique personal brand image will set you apart from the competition for resources and help you to grow relationship that will last a lifetime. Finally, when developing your individual brand image, it is key to know what your message will be and what promises you can offer. You must put into place your personal brand values. These values are what services you can bring to your work situation and what you can achieve. Your message must focus on what you specialize in, what attributes in your unique brand image distinguish you from the rest, and your leadership abilities. This brand message will allow your potential clients to see who you are and know what they will receive from you and your work. Clients must also be able to see what your brands’ promise is to them. Your brand promise should focus on your commitment to service, what you can achieve for the potential customer, and finally, your individual reputation. It is also important to communicate to clients that you may not be perfect. Be honest with them. If mistakes have been made in the past, use these as a promise to clients that the mistake has been addressed, learned from, and will not happen in the future.

By creating your individual brand image, you are taking the most important step to success. Look at who you are as an individual, focus on what your unique abilities are, separate yourself from the competition around you, and maintain your brand through a commitment to service. Through these steps you can create and maintain a strong brand image that can lead to future benefits and success in your career.

Do Not Settle For The First Car Insurance Quote You Obtain

If you are shopping around for a new motor vehicle, your purchase need to go hand in hand with acquiring a car insurance quote. As soon as you drive your new vehicle off the dealership’s floor you are at risk of getting in an accident or you can be hijacked on your way home, consequently you have to have your car insurance policy in place previous to getting behind the controls of your car for the very first time.There are many variables that would influence the car insurance quote that you will obtain. Causes such as your age, gender and driving history are all examples of such variables. The price of the car in question will also play a role, as will the number of nominated drivers on the vehicle.Never settle for the first car insurance quote you receive. Try to contrast and compare as many quotes as possible – no less than three or five. In case you are uncertain about the terms and conditions associated with your policy, make certain to discuss this with your insurance agent or insurance broker prior to signing your contract.One of the points that may perhaps result in a lower car insurance quote is opting for a higher excess amount. An excess amount is essentially the difference between the price for repairing your vehicle and the amount that the insurance company is willing to pay. Say for instance you must repair your bumper after a small accident and the repair price is R10 000. The insurance company agrees to pay R8 000. Your excess amount (payable by you!) is then R2 000. The greater your voluntary excess amount, the lower your associated premiums (usually!). Just be careful that you do not pick such a high excess amount that you would not be in a position to honour the payment when it is time to put in a claim!Also keep in mind that your car insurance quote will typically only give you an indication of your first year’s premiums. An essential issue to remember is that your insurance premium is likely to increase on a yearly basis. You might be thinking that this is not making sense, as the value of your car is in fact decreasing year after year and thus the insurance providers’s subsequent risk is lower. On the one hand that is true, but remember that the cost for repairing your vehicle (parts and labour) increase every year and insurance firms have to cater for this increased cost by increasing your premiums.Often times an insurance business will provide a car insurance quote, but your insurance policy will only be activated as soon as you’ve taken your vehicle for an inspection. These inspections are necessary as insurance firms must make certain that you are not trying to insure a car with an existing problem and that all the security features (such as an alarm system, immobilizer etc) stipulated on the contract are indeed in place.Obtaining a car insurance quote is really not difficult. Research your options, compare a couple of quotations and make an informed decision.

Breaking Down Sales and Marketing

Revisiting the Sales and Marketing ConversationBack in October 2015 we shared an article called “5 Ways Marketing Departments Help Salespeople Catch Butterflies.” Recently a tenfold article was shared with us, titled “What is the Meaning of Sales & Marketing and Their Advantages?” and, I have to say, it does a pretty awesome job of breaking down the differences, responsibilities, and links between sales and marketing roles. Why revisit this now? Because it has never been more apparent that the relationship between sales and marketing is still just as misunderstood as ever, especially with advances in marketing technology.Setting the Record StraightMany in the business world, especially those who rely on sales and marketing for success, don’t actually have a concrete grasp on exactly what sales and marketing are. Yes, the two are linked, but they are not one and the same. Sales departments rely on marketing; marketing departments and strategies exist to feed sales (notice I didn’t say “make” sales). You wouldn’t engage in marketing if you had nothing to sell, and your sales strategy would be much less informed and successful if not for your marketing efforts. Yes, many old-school salespeople (or go-getter small business entrepreneurs) are quite capable of drumming up business on their own, and may even have some tried-and-true marketing tactics up their sleeve – but few have the time, skill, or technological resources to effectively capitalize on the true potential of their market.A common mistake made by older, more established businesses is to assume that salespeople are skilled at marketing and that marketing people are skilled at making sales. In some cases this may be true, but certainly not across the board. While trying to conserve capital, many of these companies will attempt to combine their sales and marketing departments, essentially tasking their employees with two job descriptions, and that’s usually a bad move. It’s no accident that more recently established companies, tech giants, and organizations that employ a large number of millennials are killing it with their marketing efforts.Breaking It DownAs the tenfold article explains, some of the key responsibilities of a sales team include:

Follow Up

Relationship Building

Closing

Retention

The mark of a great salesperson is the ability to cultivate a personal relationship. Many consumers who have stayed loyal to the same brand, dealership, or salon for years will say that they appreciate the personal attention they receive there. It is not a marketing employee’s responsibility to follow up with a salesperson’s existing customer once the lead has been handed off, nor is it their responsibility to convert a lead to a sale, “close the deal,” or make sure the client remains a client for many years. Short of having an outstanding relationship with a skilled salesperson, product quality and excellent overall experience are the main things that will bolster client retention.On the marketing side, primary efforts are:

Awareness

Engagement

Conversion (from anonymous to known)

Retention

It is not a salesperson’s job to generate awareness or buzz about their brand, product or service. If they are expected to use their energy to make sales by nurturing leads and relationships, then how can they also be expected to have the time to do the leg-work up front that brings those leads to the table in the first place?The marketing department creates awareness, builds engagement by creating information that will invite audience members to take action, and targets and tracks engagement by motivating audience members to provide contact information or initiate a free trial or consultation (converting them from a cold prospect to a known lead or potential buyer). It is important to note here that the retention function of a marketing department doesn’t really overlap the retention efforts of a sales team.On the sales side, client retention refers more to the salesperson’s efforts to use the client relationship to continually check in with the client, attempt to engage them in further discussions about additional products or services they may be interested in, and seek referrals to the client’s friends and family members. On the marketing side, however, retention refers to maintaining a higher level of consistent engagement (through targeted marketing based on buying preferences, interests and history) so that the customer relationship doesn’t end at the initial purchase. Those email newsletters you receive after becoming a customer somewhere are not random – they have a purpose and are often tailored to things you’ve viewed or expressed interest in. A sales team simply doesn’t have the insights, time, or often the resources to execute these types of strategic campaigns.The Fine-Tuned Coexistence Of It AllThe ideal sales and marketing relationship is a symbiotic one. Marketers and salespeople work together to determine what consumers need and how to deliver it. Sales and marketing should motivate, inspire and feed one other. They should collaborate and coexist. In the hierarchy of the business food chain, sales and marketing should not be seen as rivals or equals, but counterparts. One truly cannot exist without the other, but their skill sets are not the same – especially today, where advances in technology require the modern marketer to have a very specific, honed, and competitive set of skills that most sales people simply do not need to have.For this reason many marketers are introverted, analytical, and deep-thinking individuals. Whether they’re crunching numbers and analyzing data, compiling reports on trends and conversion rates, or writing awesome ads and creating beautiful websites and collateral material, they are required to intensely focus on what works, what doesn’t, and adjust their creative efforts accordingly. Usually a marketing department will have creatives, analysts, and more tech-oriented people (who dive into the numbers and algorithms behind advanced marketing tools).In contrast though, many salespeople are extroverts – they light up a room, they have excellent “people skills,” can easily relate to others, and have the ability to pick up on social cues that might actually help them close a sale. Oftentimes salespeople have a broader focus, preferring to spend their days with appointments and meetings – activities that build relationships – rather than sitting behind a desk doing what a marketing department does best. For this reason, many salespeople have administrative assistants to help them with follow-up, paperwork, appointment setting, phone calls, proposals, and calendar management. This type of functional assistant role is less widespread in the marketing realm.Share Your ThoughtsBe sure to read the full article (and let us know how it compares to our post ) for additional insights on the relationship between sales and marketing teams. Join the conversation: in your experience, what have been some key components of a successful sales and marketing partnership?