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Published:January 26th, 2009 16:44 EST
Professionally Distinguish Your Work, Product, Service, and Brand!

Professionally Distinguish Your Work, Product, Service, and Brand!

By Simon Bailey (Mentor/Columnist)

Recently, one of my dear friends and business colleagues from my days with Disney, Rebecca Grinnals, invited me to share some insights at her Luxury Wedding Industry Marketing Event - www.engage08.com. One of the featured speakers was Sylvia Weinstock, known as the Leonardo da Vinci of cakes.  I had a chance to visit with her in between sessions and was blown away by her approach to her business. 

She said, I am an artist who is commissioned to create a work of art. Everything that I do is original and unrepeatable. Flour, sugar, and water are only limited by one`s imagination.   Please check out (www.sylviaweinstock.com ) to see what I mean. Her brilliant work is a conversation piece all by itself.  Everybody will talk about it.

So what`s the point? According to dictionary.com, the word distinct " is described as unquestionably exceptional or notable. Are those words used to describe you O` Brilliant One?

This is the time for you to professionally distinguish your work, product, service, and brand! If you work for someone else, then you are a brand inside a brand. If you own your own business, then you are a brand.

David McNally & Karl Speak, authors of Be Your Own Brand say a brand is not a product or service. It`s an emotion, a perception, a memory, an experience. You mean something to everyone in your life, and that meaning is your brand. "  Seth Godin, author and thought leader says a brand is a way of identifying and communicating what makes you a star and using those qualities to separate yourself from the herd will increase your success. "

I want you to be more brilliant this year than ever before, and here are nine carats for you to distinguish what you do.

If you have ever eaten a burger at Five Guys (www.fiveguys.com), which the Washington Post calls the Willy Wonkas of the Burgercraft, then you know when you order French fries they give you an extra scoop of hot fries " no questions asked. In your business, what can you give that is a little extra that people won`t expect? It`s a mark of distinction.  
 
Increase your Business Acumen. Understand the industry of your company, its competitors, its brand position in the marketplace, products and services.
 
Share with your customer what you will do to earn or keep their business! They don`t really care about what you can`t do or the all of the hoops you have to jump through to make something happen. Be straight up and stop playing the head games. People are tired and their tolerance is very low after watching the stock market plunge, retirement plans diminish, and lay-offs happening all around them.

Social Capital is your new relationship portfolio. Sign up for Facebook which, in the words of my Sales Stylist (www.saleslounge.com), is like the ABC of the Internet. Twitter is like the cable channel FX, under the radar screen some know about but most don`t. LinkedIn is like CNBC of the internet. Professional versus personal. Why wait until the ax falls or the contract is canceled? Start building your relationships today and every day. If all the people you know are inside your company, then expand your base. Think global. I received a Facebook message from one of my friends in Dubai whom I have not talk to since December 2007. Now we can stay connected and she can introduce me to all her friends. You get the picture.
 
Establish a personal board of directors made up of men and women who get you " and will challenge you in the eight core areas of your life " spiritual, family, career, financial, emotional, mental, social, and wellness. Plan to meet with them every 90 days and discuss what you have done to grow your brand and distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack. By the way, make sure it`s diverse and inclusive. If everyone in your circle looks like you, talks like you, and thinks like you then your circle is too small. 
 
Be competent in your function or area of expertise.  You should become known for the value you bring instead of the job classification in the human resources system.  Why? According to former Secretary of Education Richard Riley, the top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 will not have existed in 2004. Meaning people will transfer their know-how from job to job. Having all of the knowledge isn`t the point. Sometimes it`s simply knowing who to call or connect to. 
 
Remember names, facts, and details about customers that you meet. What is the name of his or her dog, cat, son, daughter, spouse, birthday, favorite cuisine, or type of book to read.  Alan Berg, VP of Strategic Solutions for The Knot, says Raise the bar on everything you do. Be the kind of business or person you would want to do business with. 
 
Make your voicemail greeting distinct and memorable. I know many companies have professional guidelines, but for goodness sakes, where is your personality? Let your smile come through your voice. If you have your own business, then brand your voicemail. Do it today. 
 
Pray! Don Thompson, president of fast-food giant McDonald`s USA, credits faith as the driving force for his success and the foundation for what he does in the corporate world. (Source " NBMBAA magazine Fall 2008 issue)
 
Every day your feet touch the ground is another day to distinguish what you do.  I realize that many people are scared to death about the future. Some are still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Some of you have invested years of service in a profession, industry or place of business. Are you distinct? Is your work excellent or just mediocre? No matter what happens "keep your job, stay in business, lose your job or go out of business"  if you can read this e-newsletter, then you are still alive and kicking. And that means you have another day to be distinct in everything you do.  I believe in YOU! Go for it and Distinguish Thyself!

Simon`s Side bar
 
I found out that one of my favorite clients, Jackie Lee of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, passed away. She was more than a client. She was a friend. I could call her and talk about life, business, and she always challenged me to think in a new and fresh way. Even as I type these words I cannot believe she is gone. WOW "you never know when it`s your time. To all of my friends at Blue Care Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, I am there with you in spirit. Jackie was brilliant and has left an imprint on all of us.
Ladies and Gentleman,  In life, we enter and exit.  What we do from the entrance to the exit is the true measure of our life.