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Brands are Important – 7 Ways to Protect Your Brand

Brands are Important – 7 Ways to Protect Your Brand

Reputations are built over a lifetime but can be destroyed in seconds. The brand is the representation of the reputation of a company and more importantly, an individual. Brands are selling points for entering into business and personal relationships.

Athletes, entertainers, company executives and politicians pay money to create a brand but pay much more to rebuild and repair the reputation when damaging information floods the Internet. In some cases the damage hurts a professional career as in the case of former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel who consistently was in the news with erratic behavior during and after the season as described in detail by Kent Babb in his Washington Post article last month.

According to Kim Souza in the article, Wal-Mart Corporate Reputation Near the Bottom of the Retail Sector, negative public perception can also harm a business like Wal-mart which has lost over $612M since 2003 due to the ongoing investigation that it cheated to fast-track its international growth.

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The good news is that it’s not too late to learn these 7 ways to protect a brand:

1. Operate with integrity.

Honesty is the best policy but it is also a great practice to sustain a solid upstanding reputation. If there is a problem, own it, address it and improve. This requires self-perception of an individual but also genuine analysis of a company to determine where there might be loopholes in the sincerity and openness to those in personal and business relationships. Integrity is a great brand protector because it will cause customers, fans, investors, an employers to stick around when there is a mishap.

2. Be respectful of others at all times.

Brands are crushed all the time because of the hidden cameras and camera phones of others. There will be lots of encounters with people who prove that common sense is not common. There will plenty of occasions when someone “ruffles your feathers” and upsets you. Nonetheless, you must remain calm (e.g. no arguing, name calling and disrespectful words) because you never know who is watching or worse – getting footage for social media.

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3. Get rid of the dead weight.

Parasites can be people too. You can’t bring everyone with you as you go to the next level. People who don’t contribute to your personal well being or the company’s success should be left alone. If someone is not helping, they are usually subliminally harming.

Learn that it is okay to be alone. Learn that it is smart business both personally and professionally to not be around “yes men”. When protecting your brand, it is important to understand that if you want to lead the orchestra, you must be able to turn your back on the crowd.

4. Make time and money your best friends.

Time is the most valuable asset. Once gone it can’t be brought back. Money will come and go depending upon obligations and spending habits but will not always be easy to earn. People respect others who treat time and money like investments and watch closely if there is a valuable return on investment.

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For instance, flashy individuals create a brand of being superficial and careless with time and money which attracts the wrong people – the users, losers, and abusers.

5. Disassociate from other negatively perceived brands.

When high profile companies or people go through a scandal, the public opinion of the severity can sway consumer spend and result in a loss of revenue. No one knows this better than the highly acclaimed golfer, Tiger Woods, as he saw endorsements drop in 2009 based on what really was a private home matter that affected his brand.

According to Melanie Wells’ Forbes article, Accenture disassociated from him because they wanted other corporations to believe they valued morals and staking so much equity in his character put them in an odd position. While I still think that was overkill, it is a valuable lesson that people will judge and categorize based on associations – bad or good – which impact the brand.

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6. Safeguard all access to social media accounts.

For whatever reason social media has provided open doors to people’s lives and created self-made superstars through selfies, commentating through SnapChat and philosophers through tweets and posts. But one bad post can cause a loss of followers (not so detrimental), revenue, business deals and valuable relationships.

Do not let anyone have access to the passwords for social media accounts unless they are paid public relations or marketing personnel. If the accounts are on your phone, tablet or computer, always password-protect the devices when leaving unattended. Be sure to change the passwords at least twice a year.

7. Always be you.

Stand by your beliefs and morals. Do not allow outside influences move you in a direction that makes you uncomfortable. The quality of a person or company cannot be compromised for something that is in style today but harmful over time.

Think about a time when you have watched someone pretend to be a friend of someone who they later turned on for power. Was the power worth the new brand of being untrustworthy or conniving? Never lose you in the midst of change. In the long term, it is bad for the brand.

Featured photo credit: Robert Servais via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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