Our Favorite Business Productivity Tools for 2016

Screening-Trends-and-Predictions-for-2016We all need an array of productivity tools to help us work, share and survive our hectic marketing life.

What’s on our list?  19 Things we can’t live without!

1.  Buffer.  Okay, refer to our story on Buffer.  Buffer allows us to post content to multiple social media platforms in one easy click.  There’s even a handy browser tool that allows you to post while you are reading.  Link all your social profiles and share immediately or schedule posts for later.  Also Buffer has a beautiful social media image creation tool called Pablo.

2.  Socialoomph.com.  Our secret tool.  Socialoomph also allows us to post and schedule content as far in the future as we want, and as often as we want.  When friends say, “I see you on social media all the time; I don’t know how you do it,” I just smile and say thank you!

3.  Latergramme.me. This tool allows you to schedule your Instagram posts in advance.  Once your posts are scheduled, you only need to publish from your phone.

4.  Feedly is a news reading app that delivers news from RSS feeds.  I am still missing Google Reader but this is a good way to harness quick access to articles.

5.  WordPress is the blog platform I use for both LipstickEconomy.com and our website.  We have used WordPress for six years and often use it as the platform for websites we are building.  You can’t beat its open source platform and easy-to-use content management system.

6.  Google Analytics.  There are great new demographic and behavioral features in reporting now.

7.  FreeConferenceCall.com.  Yep, it’s free.  Conference calls for up to 100 people for six hours, although who would want to be on a call with that many people.  You can also record calls with MP3 playback.  Recording is helpful when you do interviews or don’t want to take notes.  We also use UberConference which has similar features and document sharing, also free.

8.  DropBox  and HighTail.  Dropbox is used for storing and sharing files and photos with clients and partners.  HighTail is great for storing and sharing large files easily.  We use HighTail for transferring large graphic files quickly and easily.

9.  Google Drive.  I use Google Drive for several organizations and clients where we need to easily share documents and files.  And you know, it’s free and awesome.

10.  Timetrade.com or ScheduleOnce are great tools for setting appointments online.  Excellent tools when you are scheduling interviews for groups of people.

11.  Grammarly or Hemingway.  Great tools for checking your grammar, your verbosity and your penchant for run-on sentences.

12.  Basecamp.  We use Basecamp for managing large projects with our clients.  Basecamp is considered the most popular project management software.

13. Emma and MailChimp for Email.  Why two?  Well, they offer different things for different clients.  Emma is changing constantly with great new features.  One of the things they offer is beautiful templates and custom creative.  Emma’s reporting is easy-to-read and they work well with franchise organizations.  Besides, they are a Nashville company!  Mailchimp is free for lists up to 2,000, good reporting, easy-to-build templates and cute illustrations of chimps.

14.  Canva and Pablo 2.0.  Both build amazing graphics for social media.  We love and use them both.  Powtoon is also a great resource for quick little videos with  templates ready for customization.

15.  SurveyMonkey.  Research is important for all businesses.  SurveyMonkey is good for informal research,  formal research and even collecting contact information.

16.  LinkedIn is both social media and a contact resource.  Download your connections to start your contact or newsletter list.

17.  Evernote.  Free note-taking app that is perfect for someone who saves everything.

18.  My iPhone.  My phone, my camera, my lifeline.  What else can I say?  Also a portable charger for traveling.

19.  Hubspot, Salesforce or Contactually.  CRMs for the real world based on the size of your business and pocketbook.

 

Banana Pudding with Peanut Butter Whipped Cream Is a Great Idea

IMG_2362Banana Pudding with  Peanut Butter Whipped Cream!  I know, it’s January and we are supposed to be talking about salads and diets.  But I just read an amazing post from Anne Lamott about the fallacy of diets, and I just got The Southerner’s Cookbook for Christmas. And Banana Pudding does have a marketing backstory with Nabisco Nilla Wafers. Enjoy this Elvis-inspired version fit for the King.

Banana Pudding

4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
4 large ripe bananas, peeled and sliced in rounds (I used 8 bananas!)
4 large egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk (I used evaporated milk.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla wafers
 
Peanut Butter Topping
 
2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons cold heavy cream
¼ cup creamy peanut butter (I used 1/2 cup peanut butter.)
3 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 cup crushed vanilla wafers
 

Pudding Preparation

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sliced bananas, tossing to coat, and salute for 3 to 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the bananas are soft and lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, ¼ cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, and salt until smooth and pale in color.  In a large saucepan, come the half-and-half, milk, and remaining ½ cup sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed and lightly steaming.  Temper the egg yolk mixture: slowly whisk ½ cup of the hot half-and-half mixture into the yolk mixture.  Return the mixture to the saucepan with the half-and-half mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbles begin to form and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat; add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the vanilla and stir until the butter is melted.

Arrange a single layer of vanilla wafers in the bottom of a 2-quart dish or trifle bowl.  Top with half of the sautéed bananas.  Spoon half of the pudding on top of the bananas; layer again with vanilla wafers, bananas, and the remaining pudding.  Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Peanut Butter Topping

Put the 2 tablespoons cream and the peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until creamy and thinned, about 30 seconds.  Let cool completely, then transfer to a large bowl and add the remaining 2 cups cream and confectioners’ sugar.  With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.

To serve, line the rim of the serving dish with more vanilla wafers, dollop the topping over the pudding, and sprinkle with crushed vanilla wafers.

Recipes excerpted from “The Southerner’s Cookbook: Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories” by David DiBenedetto and the Editors of Garden & Gun (Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Peter Frank Edwards.

 

 

Six Lists that Make You More Productive

moms-to-do-list-no-do-listHere is some great advice from Fast Company on making those all-important To Do Lists.

Your brain is for thinking, not for storing a long list of random things you need to do.

“When you’re juggling a lot of tasks, things will fall through the cracks, and lists are amazing for keeping yourself on target and getting things done,” says Paula Rizzo, author of Listful Thinking: Using Lists to Be More Productive, Highly Successful, and Less Stressed.

As senior health producer at Fox News, Rizzo was used to creating checklists of questions and shots to get. When she started to look for an apartment in New York, she realized how important lists can be in all situations—but only if they’re used correctly.

“A lot of people want to be list makers, but they aren’t sure how to create lists that actually help,” she says. “The key is making the right lists and being strategic in how they’re used.”

Here are six lists that Rizzo says are helpful to business leaders, and how you can use them to be more productive:

1. A SPECIFIC AND TARGETED DAILY TO-DO LIST
While a to-do list seems like a no-brainer, Rizzo says too many people fail to set theirs up for success: “A daily to-do list needs to be specific and targeted,” she says. “You should only put things on a to-do list that you have the time and resources to achieve. And big goals and projects should be broken down into actionable tasks.”

The first step is to pay attention to timing: Write your list at the end of the day before you leave your desk. “Look ahead to following day and determine everything that needs to happen,” she says. “Identify phone calls to make, emails to send, and appointments you have. When you come to work in the morning, you’ll have a road map and can hit the ground running.”

When tackling the tasks on your to-do list, it helps to match the action with your productivity levels, says Rizzo. She takes care of tasks that require more focus, such as writing, at the beginning of the day when she’s fresh. Smaller things, like phone calls or emails, are put at the bottom of the list, to be completed after lunch when her mind is more fatigued. When distractions pop up during the day that could throw you off of your game, refer to your to-do list, and reset your intention for day.

If something doesn’t get done, reevaluate the task at the end of the day. “Ask yourself, ‘Did that belong on the list for today? Do I have the appropriate time and resources? Or can I give the task somebody else?’” Rizzo says. “Leaving items undone can feel like you failed, but don’t be too hard on yourself. If it’s still important, put the task on tomorrow’s list.”

2. AN OUTSOURCE LIST
Successful leaders and entrepreneurs often complete tasks they could have delegated because it will just take a minute, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, says Rizzo.

“Menial tasks, such as uploading a blog post to WordPress or making travel arrangements, aren’t always the best use of your time and talent,” she says. “Look at everything on your to-do list and ask yourself, ‘Am I the only person who can do this?’”

LOOK AT EVERYTHING ON YOUR TO-DO LIST AND ASK YOURSELF, “AM I THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN DO THIS?”
Anything that can be given to someone else should be put on an outsource list. While outsourcing takes extra time upfront to train someone else on the task, it saves you time later, which can be used to focus on the things you do have to do. The outsource list will become someone else’s to-do list.

3.  A LONG TERM GOALS LIST

Writing a list of long-term goals and dreams can help you achieve more, says Rizzo. “Even if you think it’s too big of a dream but it’s something you want, write it down anyway,” she says. “When you write something down, studies say you’ll be 33% more likely to do it because it sets an intention and puts a goal into action.  Create a long-term goals list for yourself and your company. Then create a reminder to review and re-evaluate it periodically.

“I set a recurring meeting on the calendar in my phone and review my list,” says Rizzo. “I cross off the things that have happened, add new goals, or delete things I no longer want to do. It’s a good exercise for achieving the things you want.”

4.  A PROS AND CONS LIST

When you’re making an important decision, such as forming a partnership or entering a new business venture, create a list of pros and cons. “This list makes you dig down deep,” says Rizzo. “And just because there are more pros than cons, it doesn’t mean your decision should be a definite yes.”

The best way to use this list is to write it down and leave it alone. “Come back to it the next day when your perspective is fresh,” says Rizzo. “It can also help to share your list with someone else or ask a friend or partner to help brainstorm more pros and cons. This list gives you the clarity you need to make good decisions.”

5. A PROJECT LIST
When you are working on a project with others, create project lists that detail tasks and assign responsibilities.

“This helps you avoid micromanaging,” says Rizzo, who suggests using online project management software, such as Asana or Basecamp. Projects can be broken down into actionable tasks and assigned to team members. Everyone can view everyone else’s progress, as everyone has access to all team members’ to-do lists.

“This eliminates the need for numerous emails that can become confusing, and everything about a project is contained in one location,” says Rizzo.

6. A TALKING-POINTS LIST
If you have an upcoming meeting or important phone call, create a list of things you want to discuss, so you don’t risk forgetting something. Keep this list handy on your desk, so when things pop in your mind you can jot them down.

“A talking points list makes meetings more efficient, because you can be sure to address everything you need at once,” says Rizzo.

 

 

Bite-sized Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan-Pie-Bars-1Mini desserts are so great.  They allow our guests to indulge and feel guilt-free.  You can try a little pecan bar, a little cheese cake and a little churro bite.

At our house, we love pecan pie and these bars are a little bit of pecan heaven.  The secret ingredient is the Heath Bar bits!

JAMIE’S PECAN LITTLE BITS

SHORTBREAD CRUST

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

PECAN FILLING

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons butter OR margarine, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 bag Heath Bar bits

DIRECTIONS

CRUST

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, butter, powdered sugar and salt with an electric mixer until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Line your pan with foil. Press firmly and evenly into a greased 15 x 10-inch rimmed pan. Bake 20 minutes until golden brown.
FILLING

1
For FILLING: Beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in pecans and Heath Bar Bits.
2
Pour over hot crust; spread evenly.
3
Bake 25 minutes at 350°F until filling is firm around the edges and slightly firm in center. Cool completely on wire rack before serving

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Anyone? Yes, Please.

IMG_1882We are a little pumpkin obsessed, so when we found a super easy recipe for this gooey, deliciousness, we said gotta have some.  If Fall begins when Starbucks starts serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes, then we say the Holiday Eating Season begins with these little lovelies. And here’s a little pumpkin factoid:  While sales of pumpkin-flavored items grew 11.6% this year, the actual volume of real pumpkin sales dropped 5%. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

CINNAMON ROLLS
1 can Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1/4 cup pumpkin butter (Or apple butter)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk (more if you like a thin frosting)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Unroll sheet dough into one large rectangle. Spread pumpkin butter evenly over the dough. Evenly sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the pumpkin butter.

Starting with short side of the rectangle, roll up into a log. Using string, dental floss, or a serrated knife, cut the roll into 10 slices. Place slices, cut side down, in a greased 8 x 8 baking dish, or a left over Sister Schubert’s pan.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cinnamon rolls cool in pan for 5 minutes.

While the cinnamon rolls are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and milk. If the frosting is still too thick, add a little more milk and whisk until smooth.  Spread frosting over cinnamon rolls and serve! I always have leftover frosting, but use as much as you like:)

Sharon Brawner puts the Fame in the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum

Sharon Brawner 2015_headshot 2_DM_2_23A8432Sharon Burns Brawner is Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum where she has day-to-day oversight of the museum’s traditional revenue-producing areas including ticket sales, restaurant/catering, and retail.  Oh, and there’s the fabulous Hatch Show Print and Historic RCA Studio B.  Over the course of 13+ years at the museum, she has made a significant impact on many fronts. Under her direction, ticket sales revenues have increased over 111% since 2003. From 2003 to 2014, revenue for special events have increased from over $677,400 to upwards of $11.7 million. From 2006 to 2014, Brawner has overseen a 102% increase in retail sales and has grown their retail presence in the museum from one store to three, in addition to an art gallery.

1.  How has marketing for the Country Music Hall of Fame changed over the years?

I have been with Country Music Hall of Fame  for 14 years, starting as the director of sales for group sales and events.  We have exploded in all the earned income of ticket sales, retail, special events and licensing and product development.  We now have 17 different businesses under one roof.   In 2003, we started a rotating exhibition program that started with one and now is up to a dozen in a year.  Repeat visitation has not risen to a big number but we are appealing to a much larger, diversified overall audience.  We now have a marketing team of 23 folks divided into four teams – PR, Digital, Creative and Marketing Services.

2.  Has the newfound popularity of Nashville contributed to the popularity of the Country Music Hall of Fame?

I thank the good Lord everyday for the blessings that have happened to our wonderful city.  In 1991, I came from Dallas, Texas and it has been wonderful to see the growth.  A lot of credit goes to our mayors, governors, and convention and visitors.  The museum has been positioned as part of Nashville’s Triple Crown – the Ryman, Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame.  We have partnered with the Ryman and the Opry.  They were leading the pack at the time and now we are seen as a trio.  We also work a lot with the Frist and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.  We work hard to be viewed as a community asset. The new Music City Center campus has done so much to make us a great convention destination.   So much of the new convention space is new event space bringing more social events, more weddings, more fundraisers.

3. What is the typical target audience for the Country Music Hall of Fame?  Are women a significant part of your target audience?  Are you seeing many of the bachelorette groups coming to Nashville?

Yes, women are very important.  About 65-70% of our target audience is female.  The majority of the women are the decision makers of what the groups of visitors are going to do.  The bachelorette groups come to Nashville for the party scene, but weddings are part of our business.  Weddings have grown because of the beautiful spaces we have for ceremonies and receptions.

On the business side, there is something I do appreciate about the museum.  In our Senior leadership, we have 3 senior vice presidents that are women.

 4.  We understand Rosanne Cash is the current Artist-in-Residence.  How do strong women like Rosanne and Emmy Lou contribute to the country music landscape?

Rosanne is so great, so humble.  She is only the second woman accepted as Artist-in-Residence.  It is a very high honor given to an artist that has a canon of work very deep and broad.  Rosanne followed Connie Smith.  She asked her friend Emmy Lou and Lucinda Williams to make guest appearances.  They were  magical and commanded the room.  She is well revered and a great and brilliant songwriter and performer.

 5.  What are some of the challenges you face in marketing next year?

Kyle Young , our Director and Chief Executive Officer, has talked about it.  The city of Nashville has to be very careful not to lose our authenticity. We appreciate and respect every tourist. We can’t let the brand get so big so fast that we forget why the tourists came here.   We need to take advantage of  serving our new guests but as we build, we need to keep our roots.  All music has a home here and that’s why we call it Music City.  We don’t want to lose site of  our values.  At the Country Music Hall of Fame, we have to keep waving the flag of our history.  We think we are an anchor to staying authentic.

 6.  What has been your favorite moment at Country Music Hall of Fame?  

I am a huge fan of this music.  It is why I came here.  One of my favorite moments was being there when George Strait was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  I have a dual role as both a fan and a professional woman now working with country music.  I started watching him in college and now it is part of my job to keep his legacy alive.

 7.  What’s going on for the holidays this year? 

Every year we do Deck the Hall.  We have a treelighting in the lobby.  It’s the day after Thanksgiving and it’s the first in the city.  We also have a free concert.  Last year it was Brenda Lee.

 

 

Gender Insights on Marketing: Jen Drexler, Insight Strategy Group

Jen-Drexler-HeadshotJen Drexler is warm, funny and engaging.  She is also a powerhouse in spotting trends, uncovering truths about women, and developing poignant brand solutions.  Her knowledge of gender drivers had made her a frequent speaker and writer on gender marketing.  Jen is a fabulous spokesperson on gender related consumer insights. Jen’s uncanny business acumen and knowledge of gender drivers has been the anchor of several groundbreaking projects at Insight Strategy Group (e.g., Comedy Central, Mondelēz International, Maidenform, and Kellogg’s). Previously, Jen Drexler co-founded Just Ask a Woman, a women’s marketing consultancy and co-authored “What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It.”
We spent some time together and talked about some of her relevant insights.

1.  I have heard you say that “men get the point, women get the picture”.  What does that mean?

Neuroscience proves that women use their brains a bit more holistically and consider the context of situations more than just the linear takeaway.  Example: Man: I like to drive  Woman: I like to drive because it means I’m in control of my day and it makes me feel successful when I pick my friends up to go out.

2. Do you feel that marketing is beginning to understand how to appeal to women?

I think marketing is just getting smarter overall. I’m not certain that brands have succeeded by appealing to women as much as they have by being better at being gender agnostic and not turning women off.

3. What are your top tips for talking to today’s women?

Remember that women want brands to laugh with them, not at them (stereotypes of women as overly emotional and stressed out aren’t funny).  Also remember that women are multidimensional and switch the roles that they play fluidly – from friend to mom to employee – in the same 5 minute period.  It is tone deaf to only speak to one of her identities at a time.

4. What are some brands that you feel are getting it right?

Some brands I am following now are Amazon Prime, Lane Bryant #imnoangelcampaign, Stitchfix and American Express.

5. What are some things that women aren’t telling us in research? Are there techniques to get at the what they really want?

Women tell things to people they trust and in research it is crucial to build that trust quickly. Some of the ways to do that include getting rid of the two- way mirror and using a more casual setting.  Some focus groups look and feel like witness interrogation.  Ask questions that eliminate posturing or one word answers and feel comfortable going off book to let the conversation evolve naturally.

Bonus: What do you ask people interviewing with you wanting to be in research? 

I always ask people if they talk to strangers or what they do if strangers talk to them. If you aren’t a stranger magnet, then qualitative research might not be right for you.

 

Three Women Launch Girls to the Moon

GTTM_Logo_ColorThree Nashville women came together last fall to launch a social enterprise company called Girls to the Moon. Knight Stivender, Courtenay Rogers and Courtney Seiter are all friends working in technology with a passion for their community and for empowering young girls. Girls to the Moon is about surrounding the next generation of girls with truth and education on topics ranging from creative writing and coding to healthy relationships and sex.

“We want to be a catalyst for conversation about how girls should love themselves, feel comfortable in their own skin and ultimately guide them to be the best humans they can be,” said Courtenay Rogers, the COO. “This is a community for smart girls to meet other smart girls and for parents, specifically mothers, to learn the best way to connect and communicate with these girls.”

Amanda Valentine, two-time Project Runway contestant and award-winning Nashville fashion designer, will tell her personal story during an afternoon keynote address.  The day will begin with a morning musical performance by Nashville Symphony Chorus Director Kelly Corcoran and a trio of musicians performing contemporary pop songs with classical instruments.  At the end of the day, Girls Up Loud camp leaders Fleming McWilliams and Laura Donahue will direct a short musical performance together with Sarah Bandy, founder of Southern Girls Rock Camp.

Session speakers are:
Neeti Agarwal, engineer and owner of local franchise of Engineering For Kids
Sandy Brainard, certified peer recovery specialist
Jeni Lind Brinkman, Regional Director for External Affairs for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Emi Canahuati, sexuality educator and founder of Nashville Alliance for Sexual Health
Krystal Clark, Associate Director for Student Leadership Development at Vanderbilt University
Tiana Clark, Pushcart Prize Nominee and poet who serves on the board for The Porch Writers’ Collective
Sarah Hays Coomer, health writer, personal trainer, and nutrition / wellness coach
Mignon Francois, owner of The Cupcake Collection
Kia Jarmon, owner of MEPR agency
Laurie Kalmanson, lead user experience designer for Qualifacts
Rachel Layton, Director of Marketing for A Marshall Family Foods; former professional radio talent and newscaster
Dr. Sharon Y. Moore-Caldwell, M.D. specializing in pediatrics
Dr. Juli Oyer, principal of Fairview High School in Williamson County
Rebecca Price, founder of Chick History, Inc.
Dr. Kristin Rager, MD, is a Nashville pediatrician in private practice
Kayla Weber, former Army Intelligence Sergeant deployed to Afghanistan

 

The inaugural Girls to the Moon “Campference” is on Saturday, September 26th at Nossi College of Art from 10-4. There are four tracks of learning: Relationships/Creativity and Innovation/Health and Wellness/Caregivers. Girls aged 814 are encouraged to come and check out all of the sessions ranging from “How to Deal with Mean Girls” to “Engineering Careers for Girls” to “How to Say No: Tips for Standing up for Oneself”. While the girls are engaged in hands on sessions, their caregivers have their own sessions focusing on how to talk to their girls about topics ranging from social media to understanding the value of money.

Tickets are on sale now at www.girlstothemoon.com and volunteers are needed for the day of the event. Want to get involved?  Email girlstothemoon@gmail.com Follow them on Twitter @girlstothemoon and find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/girlstothemoon

Don’t Just Wear a Designer Brand, Be One

Google's Marissa Mayer Named Yahoo CEOWomen have been slow to recognize the importance of personal branding.  But not Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo.  The 40-year-old executive was the 20th employee of Google and the first female engineer.   She quickly became known as the woman who made Google successful.  Not everyone has worked as hard to develop their brand.

According to a Forbes survey, only 15% of employees have truly defined their brand, and only 5% are living their brand every day at the workplace.

Why is that important, you might ask?  Well, having a personal brand has become essential for most people today because of new trends in the workforce.  The average tenure of a U. S. employee is 4.6 years and for those aged 25-34, it is only three years.  And now one out of three U. S. workers are now freelancers. 

A more flexible workforce has been created out of the recession with companies seeking to lower their employee costs.  Additionally the online marketplace created by companies like TaskRabbit and Get A Guru and the rise of shared economy employers like Uber and AirBnB have allowed workers more flexibility for employment.   Added on top of these trends, mobile technology now allows more people to work when and where they choose.

These factors set up an environment where we are constantly preparing for our next role, whether in our current company, at our next employer or possibly as a freelancer or an entrepreneur.  And we need a personal brand.

A personal brand allows us to stand out from the crowd and to create mindshare for ourselves.  Some of the benefits of a personal brand include new business introductions, rewarding partnerships, leadership opportunities, recognition, added credibility and a higher perceived value.

Is building a personal brand shameless self-promotion?  It isn’t but some women may feel challenged in creating a personal brand.  Psychologists say men are encouraged from childhood to talk about their accomplishments, while women learn self-deprecation.  However, true personal branding is about authenticity and values.  Women with positive brands are giving value, sharing knowledge, acknowledging others, nurturing relationships, showering praise and expressing gratitude.  There are even professionals today helping women learn to talk about themselves.  One leadership coach hosts “Brag Parties” where women practice talking about themselves.

It’s not to late to start working on your brand.  Start working on your differentiation and elevator speech today.