Brand Experience

Brand Experience, branding, Business, Business-Of-One

The Key To Building A Great Culture [Whether You Are A Startup Or Not]

Having a great organizational culture is the hallmark of personal branding – on an organization level and individual level, as well.

But how is this culture set in, in an organization, and then uproots on an individual level, too?

While I have mentioned value system is the indicator of how well your company responds internally (to your employees and internal stakeholders), and externally (to your suppliers, customers, partners and market in general), however accepting and responding to bleep-ups – aka – failures, is the radical part to deal with.

Whether you are a start-up or starting up laterally in a company, or chasing your true north in a professional/ business set-up, you need to understand failure better. By better, I mean, debriefing yourself and your company about how you, if not fully correct your course, but tinker and try until you settle in with a path that traverses such detours strategically.

A thriving culture is often – or rather – resultant of massive failures. This doesn’t connote that your leadership is not astute or fairly strategic; it’s often the opposite. Since culture starts from the top [or ideally, for that matter] and then permeates into the whole business unit, a failure-readiness and strategic responsiveness is crucial.

This is where a culture is germinated: of being humble, agile, nimble, and collaborative. When you set up a company and dare to fail [ dare to suck is just too bad to put, though, but sometimes yes], you implicitly allow your employees to embrace their respective vulnerabilities and work more effectively once they learn what worked in specificity, and what didn’t quite shape up in the bigger scheme of things.

Failure underpins how much ‘grit’ is ingrained in your cultural DNA. And that’s the real game-changer: when your employees think creatively/ laterally on how to work out solutions.

A collaborative working environment can be conducive to bringing about a more positive culture. Rather than adopting a hierarchical approach, staff are treated equal. Communication is fluid. Any animosities can be more proactively extinguished and the entire team can work uniformly to the set goals.

That said, you are going to see more failures behind a massive, flamboyant success – given the way new ideas are sprucing up and trying to fit the bill of a viable business model – be it as a startup or a legacy corporation.

It’s your ability to respond to failures that will set the tone of your organization’s success.

Think success. Execute – and fail better, faster. You will eventually build a culture that is built to deliver and keep promises ( as they are more sacred).

On that note, welcome 2018!


Brand Experience, branding, Entrepreneur, Personal Branding: You and more

One Best Tip For A Lasting Personal Branding Success

Without further ado, it’s patience.

You can’t build a brand in a jiffy. And you can’t program your mind to function on short-term gains that could potentially thwart your brand’s image in the market.

So how can patience serve as a mechanism to achieve your personal branding goals – be it whatever field you are in?

It’s through consistent observations of people, of undying and un-fleeting, fundamental emotions that people love to react/ act to; and of course, it’s your knowledge that can fill the business void through such social and emotional, motivational drivers.

When you eye your market ahead of time through incredible patience and observation, your basic analytical ability is further enhanced with a blend of tunnel-like vision and best operational hustle – to think long-lasting and sustainable.

I listen to Gary Vaynerchuk talk about this all the time – which sounds eternally true when you are looking to build a promising, well-hedged personal brand.

Trust me, it takes more than just launching your personal Web site and a few blog posts with some sizzling promotional offers of selling your branding [ business] package. You need to constantly iterate your content strategy, tinker a tad bit more than what your competitors do; study and learn from e-mails you receive to understand what is genuinely selling versus what’s just a cupcake-business-model that just spirals down before you even knew it existed.

What’s the underlying, governing term to summarize this spiel? It’s patience. And a crazy amount of it when you dig your mind to find answers to what your audience really need versus what they want.

So be patient; put out content that best resonates with your communication style and tonality and practice business intuition by being patient and observant.

I wish everyone a beautiful Christmas that paves way for a patience-centric, hardworking and a focused 2018 to all my readers.

PS: Going forward, you will be receiving my blog post every Sunday as that’s when I love to just think and share my thoughts with you.

blog, Brand Experience, branding, Business, Business-Of-One, Digital Leading World, Digital PR, PR

The Role Of PR In A Digital Leading World

Digital and traditional PR – both are needed to grow your business.

PR is not a one-off event that happens only for making specific announcements to your public/ business stakeholders. It’s a continuous process that slowly builds your brand and carves a certain perception in the minds of your customers, consumers, and the general public.

However, the PR charm is changing quite fast for businesses – particularly for marketers and digital leaders. Reason? Well, we see a mesh between traditional and digital communication channels to communicate a holistic story of brands. PR doesn’t operate in siloes; it operates across various divisions and sub-divisions of a company – understanding your brand’s voice in granularity and coherently.

And what we are witnessing is how businesses at large are harnessing the power of digital capabilities and digital leadership to make increased profits, better business models and operations, as mentioned in the book, ‘Leading Digital’ by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee.

But how is this related to PR?

Communicating your brand message isn’t just a print affair; it’s an audience affair – it’s all about your audience. While print reaches out to masses, your digital channels can constantly iterate your message and make them more bespoke for your target customers and audience in general.

Cross-pollinating ideas among content marketing professionals, to search, to social, to customer support, to digital masters – and to sales as well – determines the most ‘qualified, pertinent and logical’ narrative for your company.

PR is both qualitative and quantitative – giving you the right scoop of what, where and how your customers are responding to your message. Through data-driven communications, you can collect meaningful information about your customers (trade bodies, Hoovers, Dun & Bradstreet, etc) that will make you a more informed marketer/ decision maker.

After all, isn’t PR supposed to provide you business results eventually?

The’ actual’ quaint perception of PR is to create a meaningful business impact whilst building a promising thought leadership: that happens only when you marry traditional PR with the new age digital investment (like analytics, social media, embedded technologies, mobile computing, etc), and create real-time PR content.

Your snazzy bylines, press releases, and compelling op-eds can be repurposed into useful blog posts, social media posts, an interesting primer on Instagram, a vlog, an exciting podcast episode, or simply an update on LinkedIn (another big channel for businesses to build their brand imagery).

With digital channels, your public relation activities will be more focused, real-time, right and fast – and responsive – which will ultimately give your business the right boost to grow in numbers as well as build market insights, to have a sustainable competitive advantage over your competitors.

So understand PR from the digital lens – and your business will thrive!


Brand Experience, branding

Don’t Always Differentiate; Be Better

You have been hearing a lot of business-speak on product differentiation – to stand out from the competition and being able to serve your customers via leveraging your key product/ business differentiators.

While I am not going to suppress any of the ‘differentiation proposition bit of marketing’ – and it holds weight by a large margin even in today’s marketing realm. But with every company bringing in the nearly same set of value proposition, how do you match up to what your customers are expecting from your brand?

The book – Simply Better – communicates the message clearly: focus on being better than always being able to differentiate. Your customers are not looking for your USPs; they are looking for category benefits – a reel of benefits that fit in with their overall general expectations of making you their autopilot choice.

And although differentiation never dies – you, your product and your market have only ‘your’ kind of business impact on your customers. However, the better way to transition broadly in the minds of your customers from mere difference to value impact is to be simply better than your competitors.

And so, how do you get better?

  • Focus on your customers’ experience – their buying journey to ultimate advocacy for the brand they’d like to be associated with
  • Bring in the consummate set of benefits that your customers implicitly look out for
  • Work on your business marketing fundamentals – for the better use of the word, basic – that provide you with your customers’ purchase intent and psychology, and then target their moments of maximum emotional impact (as mentioned in the book, The Growth Director’s Secret)
  • Understand your competition – what are they doing better than you – and get intense with your set of basic benefits that you can offer to your customer
  • Showcase your category benefits with exceptionally useful content that your audience like to consume, to help them make the right decision. Your customer journey should be your content journey: that eventually builds a ‘better’ perception of your brand as compared to your competitors

Try being better; it will help!


Brand Experience, branding, content creation, new business, presentation

Your Presentation Needs This One Thing (And You Know It)

It’s trite; when you are in the boardroom, presenting to a group of decision makers who will sign off your next purchase order, your personal brand needs to shine through consistently. It has to be aligned with the blindspots that these decision makers are looking to fill with your plan of action.

While they do zoom in to your presentation statistics and visuals, but they already know what’s coming and so are looking for newer ways of coming up with solutions that best match their problem (which by the way is constantly altering while you are presenting).

So how do you pace up when your competitors possess the same charm in their presentation?

Now the answer I am going to give is a no-brainer, but here it goes: your presentation’s content.

Not all of us have a creative eye for making our presentation look more visually appealing, but we can always add the spark and offset this area of improvement with the value boost we give to our presentation.

When you kick-off your presentation with a context that is not just numbers and product/ service specific, your prospective customer can sniff that from a huge distance and will check off their criteria of evaluating you in the first 2-3 minutes.

Talking about what I mean by context: it is your perspective; your unbiased take; your bench-marking of the concept with unrelated trends and ideas that provide the potential client with a bold view of their business.

As mentioned in the book Big Think Strategy by Bernd H. Schmitt, coming up with bold ideas takes some insight and a mind to see things from a long-term horizon point of view – which again depends on how you define your presentation’s context that serves as a primer on what’s coming next.

This context is your own version of presentation’s content; make it conversational and interactive (with the apt mix of curiosity and satiation) – and you are on your way to win the business and impress your prospective client.

How about your secret sauce of crafting an excellent presentation?

Brand Experience, branding

Build Your Personable Social Brand In Your Organization

So here it goes: what is a social brand? A social brand is when you connect your talent or your potential or your competencies, which is a result of who you really are, and share it with people on social networks, eventually building an engaging community of your interest results in a convergence of ‘personable’ social brand in the making. Earlier organizations were a little skeptical about letting their employees promote their own personal brand and ultimately getting attracted to their respective competitors. But now, it has become vital for an organization to help their employees unearth their personal attributes that could be beneficial for the company in elevating their skills and encouraging a culture of meritocracy. This, in turn, helps the company in generating better people and business results – and giving its people a chance to unlock their true potential. Let’s take an example of Google, it gives its employees an extended period of time to pursue their passions. As with the case with honing your personal brand – the trend is almost setting among companies to help their employees exercise their personal freedom to chase their passion projects and make a name not just for themselves but also with the company they are associated with. It is true that lines are blurring between your personal brand and professional equity.

People may follow you on twitter for multiple reasons: maybe because you are a photographer turn real-estate agent; or: a writer turn co-founder of a travel tech startup. The reasons could be berserk – people might just like you for your idiosyncrasies, or maybe how you manage to manage your day job with your personal calling and create social ripples. In social psychology, the word is called Halo Effect: in my words, I have quoted Dorie Clark’s concept of halo effect in reinventing yourself i.e. liking one thing that leads to like the other, as mentioned in my blog post, “one key differentiator in winning new business”. When you are active on the social network, companies, customers, and people are happier to link in with you, which in turn elevates the image of the company you work for – or for yourself, for that matter. Your goal should be to just stay relevant and useful to others.

Borrowing the phrase from Hoot suite’s e-book on the Three Social Brand Personas, (you can download it here) it all depends on your employer’s company’s policy to either have you post as a company brand while keeping your personal accounts private; or: create a separate brand identity; or: be ‘Profersonal’ – i.e. use your already existing social media presence with a company public phase. I personally feel the third option is quite prevalent today.

Are you’re a ‘profersional’ brand in the making?

What steps are you taking to be one?


blog, Brand Experience, branding, Business, content, Entrepreneur, Entrepreneurship, Personal Brand, Personal Branding: You and more

Increase Your Brand’s Retention Power With This One Thing

Putting things out on the Web in a jiffy won’t help retain your brand in your audience’s mind: it’s short lived. By things I mean the occasional Tweet about your participation in the last conference you attended or sharing an emotional video about a brand that moved you a bit more than you thought, or writing a post on some hot developments happening in the ‘tech’ space. While plowing something on the Web is always better than nothing, but when it comes to making a space of retention in your audience’s mind, you know you want to build a larger, useful, and longer online ‘shelf space’ on the Web.

Your audience needs more retention and less of depletion when it comes to great content that packs up useful information with the right data chops. After all, isn’t there just already too much to think when consuming content on the Web, let alone remember and then safely store in our memory chips?

So what is it?

Focus on your audience’s growth by creating an impact with consistent writing that addresses their professional challenges and areas of massive opportunities.

Sometimes we are busy writing business without much deliberation about whether it’s creating the requisite impact on our audience to help them take action, with ease. And the irony is, it’s not about business; it’s about helping our audience via …now you can safely fill this with your business language.

You create retention by thinking like your audience and speaking their ‘customer care’ language: in words that answer their most complex questions without fluff/nonsense. Words that may sound complex, but not confusing.

All your social media updates – while they may sound fleeting and contextual – once done right with consistency alongside writing blog articles can create, like I said earlier, your brand longevity. This will ultimately put you on the pedestal of a loyal audience retainer with your helpful content.

So start ‘raining in’ great content – and stick to it diligently. You will see success!

How are you helping your audience retain your brand’s influence on the Web?

What are your go-to mantras?