Branding Courage!

THU, December 5th on BrandTalk Radio…

“How does a Black Belt think like a brand winner and how does a Black Belt avoid becoming a brand loser?”

It takes real courage to expose your ideas, your passions- and your business to public scrutiny. That’s exactly what you’re doing as you brand and market yourself and your business.

Tune in at 5:00 and let’s see if you have the Courage to be a brand winner- or the courage to recover from a branding loss!

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“How does a Black Belt think like a brand winner and how does a Black Belt avoid becoming a brand loser?”

By Jim Bouchard

Dr. Tantillo asked me this question:

“How does a Black Belt think like a brand winner and how does a Black Belt avoid becoming a brand loser?”

Courage!

There are 3 types of courage:

  • Heroic
  • Moral
  • Artistic

For branding and marketing we’re talking about artistic courage- though at times moral courage will become a factor too!

Before I get into it, I should say there really isn’t any way to avoid being a brand loser- or any other kind of loser. When you get in the ring, you may win or you may lose.

You can, however, assure losing. Just stay out of the fight! If you don’t promote your brand with courage and audacity, you’ve lost before the first round!

It takes courage- and that takes preparation and training.

While you can’t guarantee victory, you can climb in the ring knowing you’ve done everything you can to prepare and train for the fight.

In branding, this means research. It means testing. It means approaching each campaign, each attempt and each cycle of revisions with an open mind and a willingness to change and adapt.

Back to courage…

“Courage is not the absence of fear. The absence of fear is stupidity!”

Artistic courage involves exposing your ideas and often your core values and passions to the world. It takes courage to expose your ideas to the public who may either embrace or reject your work.

And face facts- if you care about your work, what you’re really exposing to public scrutiny is yourself!

It’s natural to harbor some fear- courage is doing what you need to do in spite of fear. By definition, if there’s no fear, there’s no courage.

It may sound cliche, but to be a brand winner in today’s noisy market environment, you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone. You’ve got to embrace a little fear and take a chance once in a while. You’ve got to be bold and risk some failures to find the statement that is going to differentiate you from the crowd.

Artistic courage seldom involves danger to life or limb. There are notable exceptions, but for most of us if an artistic or business venture fails, we’ll live to fight another day.

If you find yourself in the position of “brand failure,” pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again!

Or- as we say in martial arts: “Knocked down 7 times? Get up 8!”

Branding and marketing are full contact sports.

  • Have courage!
  • Be audacious!
  • Train your hardest!
  • And if you lose, be ready to fight again!

Can’t we all just get along? Find out on BrandTalk Radio!

THU, October 24th on BrandTalk Radio…

Cant’ we all just get along?

In this era of hyper-sensitivity versus political correctness and incivility run amok on social media…is there any way we can discuss politics and other contentious issues without being abusive and petulant?

What effect do these rants have on your business? On your brand?

Well, maybe there’s hope! Tune in at 5:00 and let’s talk about it…without calling names!

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Can you talk politics in the office…without killing each other?

By Jim Bouchard

In martial arts we have a tradition of bowing to our opponent before we engage in combat. This bow is a genuine display of respect before we try to drive the other guy into the mat.

That might not be a bad ritual to introduce when two people are about to talk about politics.

We also bow after the match…and then we shake hands, grateful for the opportunity to test our skills against such a worthy opponent.

I don’t think most people are going to bow before they start a political rant at the office or before posting a snarky partisan comment on Facebook.

In the spirit of trying to preserve some measure of respect and civility with those who do not share your political perspective, here is some advice for conducting respectful conversations about politics at work, home, or anywhere else for that matter.

By the way- to my friends with differing political opinions. Please don’t mistake my refusal to engage in petulant streams of debate…

“Never mistake my kindness for weakness, nor my silence for ignorance.”

So- how do you express respect for someone who, in your opinion, is absolutely wrong? How do you respectfully defend or express your feelings on an issue in the face of anger, intolerance and even ignorance?

As part of my THINK Like a BLACK BELT for Respect & Civility in the Workplace program I do a session that focuses specifically on how to debate even political issues with respect. An old saying goes, “When you assume you only make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” In reality, you do need to embrace 5 basic “AssUmptions (TM)” if you have any hope of debating a hot button issue respectfully and avoid making an ass out of yourself in the office!

#1: Assume that not everyone shares your point of view. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong- you can assume not everyone will agree.

#2: Assume the other guy is entitled to his opinion- because he is!

#3: Assume that the other person has a rational reason for his opinion- whether he does or not! Until you fully engage in the debate you won’t know the rationale of the other person. If you don’t make this Ass-Umption, you’ll never know.

#4: Silence does not always confirm agreement. Don’t assume that because someone is staying quiet that they agree with you. It’s safer to assume that their mind is not made up. The other guy may think you’re a complete ass and is just too polite to tell you so!

#5: Assume that everyone IS entitled to two things: Their thoughts and their feelings. Thoughts and feelings are personal property whether you agree with those thoughts and feelings or not.

It’s difficult if not impossible to control emotions. Emotions are simply a physiological response to physical and psychological stimuli. What we can do is learn to control our response to those emotions. Self-control is a valuable tool for effective communication and respectful debate.

In right versus wrong issues it’s fairly simple, if not always easy to simply step up and present the facts. In most cases, a clear statement of reason will win the argument. When both sides have a legitimate claim to the right side of an argument, it’s extremely important to understand the oppositional perspective whether you agree or not.

Our most contentious issues are right versus right. 

I’m all for open, passionate and even heated debate. We can express ourselves passionately without denigrating our opponent, using inflammatory language and insulting labels. To do so requires a high level of respect, self-control and strength. It requires strength, confidence and courage to acknowledge the right of another person to his or her opinion- even when they’re wrong and you’re right!

It seems like a long time since I made this short video on how to conduct respectful conversations in the office. I’ve become a bit more erasable since this was done, but you may still find this useful!

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And you can download this PDF poster for your office bulletin board: The 5 AssUmptions!

If you’d like to host our THINK Like a BLACK BELT for Respect & Civility in the Workplace program at your business, college or university call 800-786-8502 for booking information.

 

Marketing Your Mastery: Promote your brand and your business with expert positioning

THU, October 19th on BrandTalk Radio…

Blowing your own horn in a noisy world and making sure you’re heard above the din…BLACK BELT MINDSET for Business on BrandTalk! 5:30 PM ET!

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Jim Live Embossed 330w JPGFirst of all, if you’re going to talk the talk, you’d better walk the walk…and you better have a walk you can talk about.

Mastery is not about being the best. It’s about being better…always.

The true Master is always a work in progress. Why anyone would want to stop learning, growing and adapting to new opportunities is beyond me. If you don’t want to learn, grow and develop…

…get away from me. You’re lazy, complacent and apathetic- and you’re probably contagious.

Assuming you are motivated and engaged in the process of continual personal and professional development…how do you apply that to your business or career?

And how do you stand out from the crowd?

Well- that’s why I emphasize authentic Mastery before I talk about how to market it. Before you start blowing your horn, be damn sure you have something genuine to blow about.

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Be a consummate expert in your field- I don’t care if that’s running a Fortune 500 company or cutting lawns. Anyone with relatively the same education, training or experience can do what you’re doing.

The best in any position are the Masters. The distinguishing characteristic of the Master is Wisdom…

Wisdom is the combination of knowledge, experience and- awareness. Wisdom is never a static quantity; it’s an evolving and expanding state of being.

It means you care about what you do and you always want to learn more and do it better.

THAT’s how you’re going to stand out in the crowd.

The mechanics of marketing yourself have never been easier. The internet alone provides unrestricted access to a global audience…even if nobody has ever heard of you and even if you’re budget is whatever you can borrow to get by this week.

However- the internet is crowded territory too. There are no more wide open frontiers with just a few people standing out in a vast, open space.

If you want to stand out you must first distinguish yourself as an expert in your field…then use every means at your disposal to share your expertise with the market.

This takes Discipline, Focus and Perseverance…

Overnight success is rare. Scratch someone considered an overnight success and you’re likely to find a hide toughened by constant and persistent effort. The overnight part is usually just the moment the market seems to recognize that effort.

You must feel confident in what you’re going to shout about. Once you’re confident that you can stand among the best hearts and minds in your area of expertise, then you’re ready to start blowing your horn.

Jim Bouchard
Speaker and Author of THINK Like a BLACK BELT

Learn exactly how to differentiate yourself from the competition…and how to make sure people know about it!

Our next live event…Marketing Your Mastery Boot Camp Promo AC 131001 460YouTube Preview Image

Also available as an online program at Udemy…

Marketing Your Mastery Udemy Graphic 460CLICK HERE for DISCOUNT on enrollment!

Why Miley Cyrus is Important to YOUR Business…BLACK BELT MINDSET for Business on BrandTalk!

THU, September 5th on BrandTalk Radio…

Why Miley Cyrus is Important to YOUR Business…BLACK BELT MINDSET for Business on BrandTalk! 5:30 PM ET!

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Jim Live Embossed 330w JPGWhy Miley Cyrus is Important to Your Business

Now that we’ve been twerked to death, let’s talk about why all the ballyhoo about Miley Cyrus and her undulating hindquarters is important to you…

…specifically why this is important to your business.

Unless you’re delusional you know that the entertainment business is, above all, a business. What Miley did was a calculated, programmed and rehearsed promotional event.

And it was successful- if her intention and that of her marketing people was to increase exposure (so to speak) and traffic on social media platforms.

Bullseye.

Now, what are the long-term ramifications? That remains to be seen.

She’s certainly alienated a huge segment of her audience that identified with her Hannah Montana persona. This move is intentional and calculated.

Has she alienated her core audience? Maybe- but it’s equally apparent that a large percentage of her Hannah Montana core has grown up and is rebelling in the same areas Miley exploits. In other words, these kids, maybe some of your kids, are all grown up and they’re twerking too.

The bigger question is whether her moves were bold or boring…

Have we shocked ourselves out of being shocked? Instead of being knocked off their chairs, most pundits are calling Miley a Madonna/Gaga knock-off.

We have reached the point where we’ve just about seen it all.

So what’s that got to do with your business?

It’s very tempting to jump on these cultural trends. Companies try to exploit these fads in an attempt to be hip, hot, cool, flash…whatever the current version.

Coupons.com just used an image of a young kid in a “gangsta” style pose wearing a black hoodie and dark glasses for their “From Hood to Toe” back to school campaign.

Really? In the wake of Travon Martin?

Mountain Dew tried to place their stake in hip hop culture. From Businessweek.com:

“In two recent scandals involving its hip-hop spokespeople, Mountain Dew pulled a violent, misogynistic commercial directed and starred in by artist Tyler, the Creator, and then broke ties with rapper Lil Wayne. The latter had managed to offend both women and the Civil Rights community with a new remix of a song that included a reference to beating up a woman ‘like Emmett Till,’ the 14-year-old African-American boy who was murdered by white men in Mississippi in 1955.”

There is always an inherent risk in mixing entertainment and business outside of the entertainment business.

Quoted in BusinessWeek.com, Con Williamson of Saatchi & Saatchi adds…

“The mistake people make is when they think no one else but their targeted group will see it…It doesn’t work that way. You can create the most obscure ad and put it online somewhere and then wake up the next morning and Good Morning America is talking about it.”

And therein lies the rub…or the grind, so to speak.

We’re talking about the Black Belt Mindset principle of Respect…

Respect your audience, your core values and your target market. If you want to create a lasting, substantive impression in the market, you must be authentic.

Shock is seldom authentic. People are only shocked when you deviate from your authenticity.

You want to be courageous in differentiating yourself in the market.  You don’t have to be offensive to be bold.

Be absolutely true to your core. Respect your brand and respect your market…

…that’s a bold statement.

Jim Bouchard
Speaker and Author of THINK Like a BLACK BELT

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Jim to appear on Bill Corbett’s “Creating Cooperative Kids” show. The Topic: A Black Belt Response to Youth Violence

Cooperative Kids TVJim will be in Enfield, Connecticut on August 19th to tape an episode of Creating Cooperative Kids with host Bill Corbett.

The topic: A Black Belt Response to Youth Violence.

Doesn’t it seem as if a new viral video of youth violence, beat-downs and bullying appear every single day?

Jim has been teaching the values of respectful behavior to young people for over 20 years. His response to this growing issue?

“We’ve got to return to the basic values of Discipline, Respect and Compassion. We’ve got to teach kids to be leaders…to stand up in instead of standing by.”

STAND UP is also the name of Jim’s presentation focused on the values that help kids do the right thing; at home, at school and when you’re not watching!

Following the taping, you can request a copy of the program to air on your local cable access channel. CLICK HERE for details…

Jim first appeared on Creating Cooperative Kids in 2011 to talk about bullying in school and in the workplace…

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