November, 2010

Carefully crafted press statements, polished advertisements and manufactured PR are like a billboard on an interstate highway! The new empowered consumer ignores traditional media and relies heavily on peer recommendation and opinions. They prefer to do business with organizations that are authentic, have a personal voice and values relationships.

In this new transparent environment, the people inside your company or you (if you are a one person show) can heavily influence the image of your company. Your employees can be your best evangelists, they have intricate knowledge about your business and their voices, opinions and thoughts carry far more weight than any corporate message.

The message that a corporate brand wants to project externally must resonate within the company, otherwise it just doesn’t work! Smart companies realize the fact that their employees are the best ambassadors for their brand. They engage them, value their input and trust them with customer communication. Empowered employees that share the passion and beliefs of the corporate brand can be your strongest allies and without hesitation and exercise the power of their own personal brands to defend company reputation.

Companies that are paranoid about releasing control and prohibit staff from using social networking platforms are missing out on this opportunity. Scott Monty (Ford Motors) and Frank Eliason (formerly with comcast) are two great examples of personal and corporate brand alignment. Both have very distinctive personal brands and so closely knitted into their corporate brands (for Frank this applies before his departure from Comcast). Here is an example of things gone wrong…it may seem far fetched, but even something on a smaller scale could be very damaging for the corporate brand.

By Teg Brar, MSc.

Seth Godin’s recent blog post ‘Pushing back on mediocre professors’ makes a persuasive argument to rethink our current educational system, approach, books and the professor! The post is meant to be a catalyst and as an educator, I was inspired to assess my own practices…

-In the age of ‘on demand education’ I go to great lengths to ensure that what I teach is relevant and helps learners excel in our challenging business environment. This means keeping myself educated about new trends, practices and concepts that are shaping the way we do business. I learn through networks, consuming a lot of online content and reading books. I strive to give my students real value, a compelling reason to pay attention and a vision to create opportunities in this new exciting world.

“The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know” – Albert Einstein

-One size fits all is doomed…and the movement is fast catching up with our educational system. In this noisy, always connected global environment, I highly personalize my interactions with learners and work with small groups and individuals. This creates an environment that is conducive to learning and development. In addition I participate in the Leaders of Tomorrow mentorship program at the Vancouver Board of Trade. This program is smart, it pairs aspiring students from local universities and colleges with industry professionals for a year and upon successful completion, students graduate just like they would in a college or university! I’m baffled as to why more educational institutions don’t adopt such models!

-In this age of change, I grasp every opportunity to encourage students to be curious, creative, imaginative, and be more tolerant towards failure. Heading into tomorrow, students need to perceive failure as a vital part of learning and education needs to do away with systems that create fear of failing and discourage experimenting and creation.

“I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas Edison

-As technology plays a colossal role in shaping our new business environment, how could I not I encourage, promote and celebrate it! Laptops, iPhones, blackberries and everything in between are a norm in my sessions.

There is no scarcity of information on this digital stage leading to the death of broadcast in the classroom. I deliver value through personalized engagement, creating an environment that encourages discovery and at the same time adapting a learning attitude to stay ahead of the curve. In today’s age, being an educator is a tall order!

by Teg Brar, MSc.