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You Are Absolutely Perfect!

Description: Celebrating You

Your personality is how you chose to experience life. It’s what you show
others, and how you present yourself to the world.

So consider this, you are wired to succeed. Would your soul design it any
other way?

Wouldn’t your soul design your personality to perfectly accommodate the life
you want to live at a soul level?

You could say that your personality is perfect, because it is! Even the
patterns we create and label as “counterproductive”, are tools to grow and
evolve by. We just have to no notice what way of being no longer works for
us, then get the lesson … without making ourselves wrong, or blaming
others.

Everything in life is designed to support your soul growth as you play in
the sandbox of time and space. You are designed to succeed!

So, how would your life shift right now… if you lived from the inner
knowing that you are divine perfection, AND wired to succeed?

How would you see yourself? What actions would you take now? How would you
see others?

Any feeling of hardship or struggle is just a signal that you’re not keeping
up with who you truly are. So, what’s the fastest path to soul freedom, and
living the life you were born to enjoy?

Go in the direction of your dreams, let joy and happiness lead the way.

Your friend and partner celebrating your perfection, Elari Onawa (aka Laura Cardone)

Hi I’m Laura Cardone, founder and President of Profits with Purpose, which is simply this – knowing what you truly want, and then allowing yourself to have it. So it’s about living a life you love!

The mission of this company, and those we partner with, is to help you create a life that fulfills you on every level! We do this through transformative programs, one-on-one mentoring, and online services and tools. We enthusiastically serve all those who are ready align with their heartfelt dreams and desires!

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Branding A Better Newsletter

by Maggie Ruch, Virtual Assistant

Have you ever seen a newsletter that you just KNEW was crafted by the person who sent it? Compared to something professionally designed, there are big differences. If you can see the difference, then your customers will see it too. So will your competition. Here are some simple tips to help you design a professional looking newsletter.

1-     Use your website’s style as your guide. (Need more details on what you are looking for? Check out my post about having a style guide.) Having a look that is consistent from website to newsletter helps your readers immediately connect the dots and know who the newsletter is coming from. What color is your website’s background? Does it have a border around the body of the website or does it stretch across the page?

2-     Use a template. Keep it consistent from month to month by using the same template. You can have a different template for announcements and special sales etc, but your newsletter template should always be the same. Why? Consistency builds trust. People will be able to easily spot your newsletter because it has the same look from month to month or week to week. Studies show that keeping it consistent increases clicks and decreases unsubscribes.

3-     Catchy titles. Your title should be something that your readers (at least your target customers) should want to open and read about. Sometimes vague works- sometimes it works against you. Sometimes being too creative about the title creates confusion. If you need to make a list of reasons why someone should read your newsletter then choose one of those reasons for the subject. It will definitely get some opens.

4-     Simple is better.  Unless it is part of the design, and the colors tie in to some photo or piece of art in a very obvious way, too many colors in a newsletter can be distracting. Your message (the content) is the focal point here. A rainbow of colors leaves readers unable to focus and they will eventually lose interest.

5-     Speak to your audience. Your message should be clear and concise. Refrain from using a lot of jargon or acronyms unless that is what is expected by your audience. If you are writing to mothers about a sale on baby clothes, then don’t use language that an accountant would use. No one likes acronyms (except for the US Military) so leave them A.L.O.N.E.

6-     Be direct. Consider having at least one paragraph where you speak directly to the reader in a more conversational tone. This helps build that relationship that builds business. Remember this is not your BFF or your college roommate, so conversational should be appropriate for a business luncheon or networking event—casual but appropriate.

7-     Punch it up with pictures. A photo that you have taken yourself is appropriate if you are a great photographer or if you are talking about an event you attended or relating a personal story. You can get a more professional look by using stock photos from websites like dreamstime.com or istockphoto.com. Usually these images can be purchased using credits which are very inexpensive. If you are selling something with your newsletter, then the best quality photos of the actual products are best.

8-     To click or not to click. Some people like to have everything in one place. They prefer to keep the content interesting and to have it all on the newsletter. The thinking is that it’s easier to read. Some like to publish multiple articles and to have short intro paragraphs with a link to read the rest of the article. There are good reasons for this. More clicks equals more traffic and more traffic equals better SEO. Either way, as long as your newsletter is written to your intended audience (your customer) there is no right or wrong way to do this. in the end it’s your personal preference. Someone who is interested in  what you have to say will take the three seconds to click the link and read the rest on your site. Not interested=no click.

Use these tips and track the performance of your next eblast!

Maggie Ruch is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in assisting entrepreneurs who have an online presence with website and blog design, social media, and brand management. For over 4 years she has partnered with successful coaches and consultants as an integral part of building their businesses. Her website, virtualwebsiteassistant.com showcases examples of her website and fan page design. Visit her site to view testimonials from happy customers. Sign up here for her free course and ebook on branding.

 

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Brand Yourself SPECTACULAR

  

Gwyneth, Before                                       Gwyneth, After

Powerful brands stand out. They never blend in with the rest of the products on the shelf. Branding for People© is pretty much the same.  When you’re with a crowd of people, you need to stand out and look head and shoulders above the others. This doesn’t mean you need Hollywood glamour or glitzy garments or colors. As you can see, Gwyneth stands out much more in the After photo than in the before photo.

Gwyneth is a very attractive woman, by any standards. She has been in the mortgage banking business for 25 years and wanted a makeover in order to be taken more seriously. At times she felt dismissed and occasionally thought she was taken advantage of.

I told Gwyneth that the reason people dismissed her was because of the wimpy pastels she wore consistently. “The darker the color, the higher the authority; so pastels convey little to no authority,” I explained, “and they make you look invisible.”

“But I was told by an image consultant a number of years ago that I need to wear pastels, like this baby pink jacket” she replied. She was also advised to wear pearls. Gwyneth admitted that her closet was filled with hodgy podgy pastels. “A friend of mine tried to talk me out of buying a pastel pink sweater a year ago,” she recalls, “but I bought it anyway. I think I wore it twice, and then I gave it away. I’d like to discover the colors that make me look good, but also the ones that make me feel good about myself. My friend was a client of yours, so I guess she knew what she was talking about,” Gwyneth sighed. “I wish I had listened to her.”

“The truth is,” I reassured her, “most people choose colors from the “heart and soul” and not from the mirror, so it’s literally impossible to argue successfully with a person about the colors they habitually wear. And it’s even more difficult when you’ve been told by an “expert” that you look your best in pastels. It’s no wonder you ignored your friend’s advice. Let’s discover for once and for all the colors that make you feel like a million and look absolutely fabulous.”

After the color analysis, Gwyneth saw for herself that pastels washed her out and also made her hair and eyes look dull. Once she saw how beautiful she looked in bold colors like royal blue and fuchsia, she was excited about discovering more colors that made her look and feel good.

When Gwyneth tried on the magenta jacket, she remarked that she would never have chosen a color that bold. One look in the mirror, however, and she beamed with delight. “This is who I want to be; a confident woman who exudes power but isn’t overbearing; a woman who commands respect. I’m tired of being a Plain Jane executive,” she exclaimed.”

Once we discovered Gwyneth’s correct color category, it was time to look at makeup. “I don’t wear lipstick,” she explained, “and only a little bit of mineral powder on my face.”

We began with a very light application of foundation that matched her skin perfectly. It made her truly good skin look even better, and the result was youthful skin that didn’t look made up. She liked it, because foundation had always seemed so thick and heavy to her before, which was why she opted for powder. A gentle dusting of pink blusher gave her an even more feminine and youthful look.

Next she tried a soft fuchsia lipstick that gave a subtle touch of color. She was okay with that. However, she needed a deeper shade with the magenta suit, and once she saw how it brightened up her entire face, especially her eyes, she changed her attitude about “bright lipstick.”

Most women are afraid of lipstick, because they’ve never given it a chance. The truth is, lipstick ensures that the face always remains the focal point. When the face is a sea of beige, our eyes wander. Lipstick literally keeps our attention on the eyes and even makes them glisten. Gwyneth couldn’t believe what the magenta lipstick did for her turquoise eyes. “They look much brighter now,” she said in amazement.

The finishing touch was tweaking her hair a little. Her hair was healthy and attractive, but I recommended she change the part from the middle to a side part. She has a natural cowlick that she was trying to avoid, but it actually turned out to be a blessing, since it enabled me to sweep the hair away from her beautiful face. Her old hairdo made her face look slightly rectangular. Once I smoothed her hair out with a flat iron and brought it away from her face, everything changed.  Her face was framed and brought out by her hair, instead of being overwhelmed by it. I recommended she ask her hairdresser to even out the length a bit, since her old hairstyle was long in the front and much shorter in the back. This style is ever popular, but it often gives a droopy effect to the face, as Gwyneth discovered.

Most people constantly improve their skills, but they don’t think of improving their image. There’s nothing nicer than looking in the mirror, seeing the “new you” and beaming from ear to ear. When you change your image, you can actually change your life, because you leave the house each day with a whole new attitude about yourself!

Sandy Dumont is an internationally-known image consultant with 30 years experience. Her latest product is a 12-DVD Video set for women, and you can have it at a fabulous introductory price at her website:  www.theimagearchitect.com.

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Polish Your Brand Story and Shine

Certain aspects of your brand story, if updated or enhanced, can bring additional value to you and to your customers. Branding gives you the opportunity, over time, to associate your organization with the benefits and values that are important and relevant to your customer. In a fast-paced, ever-changing global marketplace, your brand represents the promise of service and the expectancy of future benefits. The expectancy of these future benefits motivates buyers to place a higher value on your brand and to be willing to invest in building a relationship with you and your brand. Therefore, maximize any opportunity you have to distinguish your brand. One way to do that is to identify, clarify and “polish” your marketing communications so that your brand shines out brightly from among all the others.

Are your clients’ perceptions of your brand a key factor in their decisions to purchase your product or service and to remain loyal customers?

Checklist:

_____ Refine the details of the core organizational values your brand promotes. Does your brand convince buyers to choose your products and services over that of your competitors? How is your core brand identity conveyed in your marketing? Do your core values connect with customer needs?

 

______ Select a writing style and tone that speaks to your niche audience. What writing style is appropriate? Formal? Conversational? Informative? Persuasive? What terminology does your customer group recognize? Are your customers experts? Or, are they new to their field?

 

_____ Choose content relevant to the challenges your audience seeks to solve. What do you want your audience/ideal reader to think or feel? What action do you want them to take? Does your core brand identity speak to customer attitudes, preferences and likes? Do your messages promote conviction and action?

 

___ Develop messages in media that are culturally relevant to your customers and prospects. What is the culture of your organization? How does it compare with the culture of your customers? In developing messages and choosing media, consider the strategic importance of customer orientation, competitor positioning, length of marketplace initiatives and any other factor pertinent to your core customers.

 

Are You the Apple of Your Customers’ Eyes?

Is your brand respected in the marketplace? Do your customers value their relationship with you and consider it important to their success? What actions do you take daily to increase your brand equity? To find out, identify areas that need improvement and evaluate your organizational marketing messages and media channels. Let us help you to identify Brand Story areas that need improvement. To get started on your review and evaluation, leave a comment here.

Maria Pinochet, marketing consultant and copywriter, thrives on living the entrepreneurial life and assisting others to realize their dreams of independence.

Her company, Kore Access, Incorporated produces marketing communications for online content and for printed materials. BrandStory, one of her copywriting services, delivers a script of your business story to use in digital and print media.

 

 

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Getting In Style: The Technology of Branding

by Maggie Ruch, Virtual Assistant

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, a great resource to have on hand is a brand style guide. This guide will give specifics about things like the appearance of the logo, and copyrights in place on the name or logo for the business, the exact colors to use (PMS or CMYK, RGB and HEX colors) and the font/s used in both the logo and on printed material. It’s a good idea to refer to this style guide for any project. These details may be subtle, but creating consistency builds trust and having a relationship of trust with a client is a relationship that you can’t put a price on.

So where do you get these details and how do you ensure that they are being implemented?

Let’s start with the logo. The graphic designer who created your logo should be able to give you the specific color codes. Many graphics people only work with CMYK colors. There are a few websites that provide conversion charts for these codes. One that I use is the RGB color calculator at http://drpeterjones.com/colorcalc/ . This calculator also matches CMYK and HEX (web) color codes. Another way for you to get the color codes from your logo is to sample the color with a photo retouching software like Photoshop. While logos that have shading and 3d effects might have spots where the color varies, you can view the color you are sampling and test a few spots on the logo before deciding on a code.  Record the color codes and make sure that they become a part of the brand style guide.

Fonts. Most logos are designed with fonts that are not commonly used online or in print. They are usually custom or special font sets that designers use. You really don’t need to worry about matching these fonts, but the fonts used in print and on your website should have a particular style. The main fonts to point out here are your headings and articles. Headings are typically a serif font and body fonts are typically sans serif. This has changed in the past few years, where before serif fonts were used for the text and sans serif for headings. Whatever your preference, make sure that the font set is identified clearly in your style guide. Including samples is helpful.

For information on copyrights trademarks, or patents, consult your copyright attorney. They will have the necessary documentation for your claim and most certificates include a written description of the mark if the appearance is part of the mark. Include this description when possible.

Consult the person who does your website as well as the person who does your print materials and ask them to review the style guide and make changes where appropriate. Use your judgment. If there are great reasons (other than for your logo) for using another font set or color combination, then give it some thought. Sometimes it helps to see two proofs side-by-side to see the difference that simple changes can make, like color choices and font consistency.

Even small businesses can benefit from having a style guide. So what if you are the only person with a copy? Your goal is to grow, and as you grow you will have one of the tools in place to ensure that your brand is carried out from start to finish. An electronic copy can be sent to anyone to whom you outsource a project and can be a valuable timesaver  for your business.

Maggie Ruch is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in assisting entrepreneurs who have an online presence with website and blog design, social media, and brand management. For over 4 years she has partnered with successful coaches and consultants as an integral part of building their businesses. Her website, virtualwebsiteassistant.com showcases examples of her website and fan page design. Visit her site to view testimonials from happy customers. Sign up here for her free course and ebook on branding.

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Branding Ethics

I love AMC’s Mad Men. I love watching these advertising execs find cool and interesting ways to “sell” their clients on a particular slogan or marketing idea. I love how their ideas develop from nothing into memorable sales campaigns. I love watching as brands develop from the strange sounding names they had in the 50’s and 60’s to the big names we know now. Pampers, Tampex, Vicks Chemicals, Lucky Strike Tobacco. It’s so interesting to see the ones who survived and the ones who fell.

During the four seasons that I watched streaming on Netflix, the company portrayed in the show has one major client who brings them 3/4s of their revenue. When they lose that client, who happens to be Lucky Strike Tobacco, the main character Don Draper takes out a full page ad in the New York Times. I thought it was one of the boldest and cleverest things he had done in the series up to that point. He told the world flat out that his advertising agency had been dumped by big tobacco but that he could finally sleep at night with a clean conscience. He declared that from now on his agency would only ethical clients—clients that had positive agendas. What he did was revolutionary and was probably never done up to that point in history- or at least not as effectively.

He branded ethics.

He took a bad situation, one that was costing his company millions, one that was causing other big clients to lose faith in his agency, and turned it on its ear.

He told the world (or at least to New York City) that he was going to prequalify his clients, not the other way around. He made his company suddenly look like the hero—like Captain America or Superman, righting wrongs and bringing justice to corporate America.

He branded ethics.

Corporations do it now with mission and values statements, with green programs, and sustainability programs.

What about you?

How has your business branded your values? And I don’t mean mission statements or programs intended to generate positive PR, I mean how have you really branded yourself and your business in a way that displays how you feel about people? How you respect people? How you treat people whether they are clients, prospects, competitors, or employees?

I would love to have some answers or how-to’s on this, but I think this is something deeply personal. You really have to dig deep and examine what your core values are and what you want to bring to the table. Whatever they are and however you feel inspired to share them, do it boldly!

Brand your ethics for all to see.

As for Don, I’m waiting to see what he does in Season 5 in 2012!

The full-transcript of Don Draper‘s ad in the New York Times:

“Recently my advertising agency ended a long relationship with Lucky Strike cigarettes, and I’m relieved.

For over 25 years we devoted ourselves to peddling a product for which good work is irrelevant, because people can’t stop themselves from buying it. A product that never improves, that causes illness, and makes people unhappy. But there was money in it. A lot of money. In fact, our entire business depended on it. We knew it wasn’t good for us, but we couldn’t stop.

And then, when Lucky Strike moved their business elsewhere, I realized, here was my chance to be someone who could sleep at night, because I know what I’m selling doesn’t kill my customers.

So as of today, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce will no longer take tobacco accounts. We know it’s going to be hard. If you’re interested in cigarette work, here’s a list of agencies that do it well: BBDO, Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson, Cutler Gleason & Chaough, and Benton & Bowles.

As for us, we welcome all other business because we’re certain that our best work is still ahead of us.

Sincerely,
Donald F. Draper
Creative Director
Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.”

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A Simple eBranding Checklist

by Maggie Ruch, Virtual Assistant

With the technology boom, brand management has become more important than ever. Social media, blogs, websites, print media—it can get confusing for entrepreneurs who are trying to establish a consistent brand. I’ve put together a checklist of prime real estate in your brand management efforts.

1-     Facebook: Your two greatest assets on Facebook are having a custom landing page on your fan page, and having custom artwork for your fan page profile picture. Your profile picture is on the top left of the fan page and shows up on every comment made by you when you are logged in and acting as a page. This should have your logo, contact info, and 1-3 statements about what you do best. If you have a company motto or tagline that expresses in just a few seconds exactly what you do, that is perfect. The idea is for your customers to be able to easily identify you when searching for your company on Facebook and for prospects to know EXACTLY what you do in just a few seconds. The custom landing page or welcome page on your fan page should be something that is fun, interesting, and entices people to “Like” you and to come back again and again.

2-     Your twitter background. When people are checking out what you are tweeting, take the opportunity to establish that brand identity. I usually use the custom artwork from Facebook as a sidebar on the left of the twitter feed. Be careful of sizing issues, not all computers browse at the same resolution. Ask people to visit your profile and ask them if they can clearly read the custom image. It should be visible at any resolution. If you have a business that is fun, like pet toys, a fun background featuring your products is a great idea. If you have a very professional business, choose a business background or go with a solid color. The emphasis will be on your custom photo that you used from Facebook instead of the noise of a fancy background image.

3-     Your website. Any website that does not have your logo and contact info on any page, along with social media buttons and a contact form is a lost opportunity. You want to clearly express who you are and what you do within just a few seconds of a person landing on ANY page of your website. Having a header with a short tag line and your logo and a footer with your contact info and social sharing buttons is an excellent way to do this. If you have expressed to the visitor clearly your value and expertise, they will be happy to share your site with their friends online.

4-     Blog. Blogging is a great way of creating dynamic content, educating your customers and prospects about your business and services, and establishing trust. You don’t have to blog daily or even weekly. Blog when you have something valuable to say or when you see something worth passing along to your clients. Give credit when citing other articles you find, and feel free to use other people’s blogs and articles as reference material. It is seen as a form of flattery. Make sure your blog is equipped with the same key ingredients as your website: your logo, tagline or slogan, contact information, and social sharing buttons. Have fun and look for more than just written articles. Look for video and audio that you can embed in your blog as well.

These are just a few key pieces to creating a more consistent image when branding your business online. As always, do your research and listen to your customer’s feedback. Just because you are “small” doesn’t mean you have to look small. And remember, to keep it simple.

Maggie Ruch is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in assisting entrepreneurs who have an online presence with website and blog design, social media, and brand management. For over 4 years she has partnered with successful coaches and consultants as an integral part of building their businesses. Her website, virtualwebsiteassistant.com showcases examples of her website and fan page design. Visit her site to view testimonials from happy customers. Sign up here for her free course and ebook on branding.

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Three Tips for Better Branding

Often during startup or rebranding, entrepreneurs find that what started out as a simple message became muddled by the business of trying to sell the concept and piecing together all of the parts of the puzzle that make up a successful small business. Somehow a great idea became over-complicated along the way. Here are some tips on getting back to the basics to deliver your message clearly and distinctly, connecting you with more of your potential clients from the very start.

  1. Test, test, test: So you have just created what you think is the perfect twitter background. It tells the world what you are all about. It displays your brand proudly. It looks perfect! Only one problem – the twitterfeed (the box full of tweets) cuts off half of the information on everyone’s display but yours.

The solution? Test, test, test. When you implement something do a reality-check. Ask your friends and colleagues to take a look for you. Ask for feedback. Does it make sense? Does it work the way that it should? Is all of the information visible? (Not in this example of course) do the links work? Having a second, and third and fourth and sometimes fifth set of eyes can be an invaluable asset to any business, small large or moderate.

2. Simplify: There is a huge difference between being creative and coloring all over the walls. You might want to add a splash of personality or some artistic touches here and there, but be careful of too much clutter overwhelming the brand. No matter what the medium you want to have a very clear and distinctive focal point – so less is best. Avoid overcrowding. The eyes love white space. There is a reason why print ads with a lot of white space are pricier.

Keep your message clear, concise and always, always consistent. Having a consistent look across all platforms builds trust. It fosters a sense of consistency which is important. With a consistent message backed up with state-of-the-art performance, potential customers become raving fans!

3. State your purpose: Too often this part gets lost in the details. This is not sales copy; you’re not winning friends and influencing people. It’s simple. What do you do? Narrow it down. Bullet points are best. Stick to as few words as possible and stay focused on the brand. Somewhere towards the top of whatever you are distributing (your website, business cards, a flyer) have a simple statement that tells the recipient/reader EXACTLY what it is that you do.

Think about your target customer and fitting their needs then come up with (in as few words as possible) three statements about what you do:

  1. Website Re/Branding
  2. Social Media Integration
  3. Re/Branding Across Multiple Platforms

Follow these simple steps and you will be well on your way to a more clear and concise brand that delivers a distinctive message to your target customer every time. And if you need help navigating various media types, you can always enlist the aid of your virtual assistant or social media pro.

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