The great thinker Socrates once said that an unexamined life is not worth living! We all have to make the journey into our inner selves and discover what makes us really happy! Being true to self is prescription for a happy and successful life. So ask the difficult questions and discover!

-Am I the person that I want to be?
-Am I doing the things that matter to me?
-Am I following my heart?

Living on purpose and doing work that matters is really important in today’s challenging and fast paced world. Sometimes people continue doing what mattered to them years ago but no longer does resulting in stress and other problems. This is why we must frequently ask ourselves if we are being true to ourselves.
Being happy and successful means doing work that deeply interests you. If it doesn’t generate a pay check, do it nevertheless in your own time. Who knows, one day it might make you a living! Living on purpose and chasing your dreams requires courage and hard work but results in fulfillment and happiness!
Teg Brar, MSc.

The iPad2 is no doubt a revolutionary machine. For me, the closest thing that comes close to the experience is a laptop after desktops. In this post I would like to take a look at 2 fundamental branding principles that Apple followed when introducing this ground breaking product. If iPad2 sales, excitement and buzz are an indication then it is safe to say that these branding principles served well.

Branding iPad

Market appeal
A basic branding principle is to appeal to the people that consider your product valuable and relevant in their minds. This goes against trying to be everything to everyone which does not work well especially creative unique brands. In a competitive and easily replicable world, there is an ever nagging temptation to generalize.
I could really fall in love with my new iPad2 only if there was someplace I could plug my USB drive into. I don’t care if it was built in or came in the form of a small accessory, the ability to seamlessly display work documents would be a huge advantage. Apple purposely chose to omit this feature simply because product design takes precedence and differentiates them from the competition. Jobs has indicated many times that Apple is a design company that happens to be in the business of making computers. Product design is a fundamental pillar of Apple products.

Scarcity creates stampede
Apple continues to use the concept of scarcity to its advantage. When the iPad2 became available in Canada, the only way to get your hands on it was to order online (shipped in 2 weeks) or reserve through store websites only open after 9pm pacific time. I chose to do the latter and it took me 2 weeks to finally find an iPad available in Vancouver.
Apple could have flooded their stores with the product and everyone would have purchased it in a day or two. They chose otherwise and multiplied the desire factor. There is definitely a relationship between scarcity and value.

Staying true to branding principles is key to product success. Knowing the people that are attracted to your product, their preferences, likes, dislikes and why they chose you over others is essential in business success!
Teg Brar, Msc.

Personal Branding begins with harnessing the power of self esteem. In our hyper connected environment building a strong personal brand is impossible if you do not believe and feel good about yourself! You have to find a way to chase away the demons or as the marketing specialist Seth Godin puts it, the lizard brain that discourages us from doing. In Personal Branding you have to be no less than a legend in your own mind!

Self esteem is really the way you feel about yourself and the confidence to carry out the tasks well. In other words, it’s self respect. Maintaining a high self esteem is essential to professional success. Employees with high self esteem are more productive and contribute to a positive work environment.

3 simple ways to build self esteem:

-Accomplishments, praise, recognition and doing result in high self esteem. A child will develop high self esteem from riding a bicycle rather than being told that she can do it! Start by undertaking simple tasks and completing them successfullly.

-People must have the knowledge to successfully carry out the tasks that they are responsible for. I am not suggesting to fear failure, however, support and encouragement are important.

-Know your strengths. Identify what you are really good at and then help someone who could benefit from your strengths.

Building a strong personal brand starts with feeling good and confident about yourself. This directly influences stakeholders behaviour.

By Teg Brar, MSc.

Personal Branding is all about perceptions! You are what people say you are! And what influences perceptions? It is the way you act and behave over time. When people associate your behaviour with what you are and what you do, it results in credibility. It is essential that our stakeholders see our actions to be positive and trustworthy, otherwise they may not choose us.

Personal Branding Digital Footprint

Research conducted by organizations such as Career Builder and Microsoft support the fact that digital is influencing perceptions, especially in the area of employment. Evidence suggests that an increasing number of companies are directing their initiatives towards conducting digital background checks not only to form opinion but disqualify candidates. Evidence also suggests that they are not limiting their efforts to Twitter and Facebook but digging really deep to include digital worlds such as Second Life.

For people growing up in the digital era, this is really hard to fathom. Like it or not, this is happening! Digital is the new real and we have to make a concerted effort to share and publish responsibly. When done right, digital is a powerful way to influence perceptions and build a credible and trustworthy personal brand. Here’s how:

-You can highlight your achievements and qualifications

-Display what others say about you

-Exude your personality and creativity which allows your stakeholders to check for fit

-Demonstrate your thinking, ideas, beliefs and skills

Pitfalls to avoid:

-Never lie or exaggerate qualifications. Digital is transparent.

-Images are priceless. Scour Facebook and My Space etc. and search for images tagged with your name. Check on Google, Yahoo, Bing and start sanitizing.

-Be mindful about what you post about people and especially your current or previous employers. This is exactly the type of thing that makes your potential stakeholder lose interest.

-Communication skills. 4ever, GMAB or LOL might be ok for text messaging, but what impression would it leave on a potential employer on Twitter.

Do you have any suggestions to create positive impressions using digital? Are there other pitfalls to avoid? Ignoring the importance of creating a trustworthy and credible digital identity can prove to be a risky proposition in a highly competitive business environment.

Teg Brar, MSc.

Recently I had the pleasure of leading a Personal Branding Workshop in Vancouver for a group of determined and smart women in pursuit of professional success. The Emerging Women Development Conference was organized by the Young Women in Business, University of British Columbia in association with Dress for Success, a registered Canadian Charity that helps low income women transition into the workforce.

Personal Branding Workshop by Teg Brar in Vancouver

I believe that every human being has the capacity to achieve their goals. Unwavering will, hunger for success, personal development and circumstances play a decisive role. I was really happy to contribute towards the development of this group and enjoyed sharing my knowledge about Personal Branding.

In the face of gigantic change, the secret to success often lies in learning new tools and unlearning old ones. Our new business world offers colossal opportunity to market and showcase ourselves but not without threat! The importance of managing online reputation and the tools of the trade that allow us to do so were at the heart of my message. The interaction, flow of thoughtful and intelligent questions and Twitter activity suggested the message resonated well with the audience. Thank you @BeautyNight @vbraacx @YWIB_UBC @fayeiris @HarveenNijjar @chu_crystal @DFSVancouver @kiranmahal @rav_tastic for sharing.

Presenting with other accomplished professionals such as Caroline MacGillvray, founder of Beauty Night and Janice Abbott, Executive Director of the Atria Women’s Resource Centre was a pleasure! Congratulations Ywib UBC team for putting up a stellar conference to serve a remarkable cause! I wish all delegates the best in their professional careers!
Teg Brar, MSc.

Forward thinking university students feel the need to learn more about Personal Branding and how it can be harnessed for career success. This was evident from the turnout for my Personal Branding Workshop held earlier today at Capilano University in North Vancouver. The workshop was filled to capacity (35+ people); considering it was scheduled during the lunch hour reiterates the fact that Personal Branding is fast becoming a popular topic in the university arena. How long before it makes our educational curricula?

Teg Brar's Personal Branding Workshop at Capilano University

Personal Branding in my mind is not an option, but essential to a successful career in the 21st century. Throw in economic uncertainty, globalization, fast adoption of the social web and the noise…the need to stand out has never been more urgent!

There were so many interesting and intelligent questions during and after the workshop and I could not have asked for a more enthusiastic group! The 80 minute allotted time was hardly enough to let me scratch the surface of Personal Branding. It’s such a rich subject, so current and relevant for business and professional success!
by Teg Brar, MSc.

The death of the factory marks the end of the industrial revolution. In our new information revolution and sharing, it is impossible to prosper with the mentality that was so successful in the industrial age. The power of the factory was in manufacturing mass, the information revolution shifts the power to the individual. Today, freedom of voice has new implications and the smart institution of the 21st century embraces this fact. It realizes that its corporate brand is an ecosystem of personal brands with a voice far more authentic than any marketing message and takes a much more personal approach to management. This is not a choice, but essential to thriving in our new world.

Your organization is a micro organism of personal brands. Creating a culture of employee engagement and recognition is essential. In this new environment, internal and external messages must match and transparency is non negotiable. Staff development and learning are vital. This in my opinion is the new face of marketing.

This tectonic change forces us to rethink management. Leadership, communications, practices, policies and engagement! It demands a new approach to doing business!

Teg Brar, MSc.

Having a Personal Branding conversation with thirty young students with career ambition on their minds is a rewarding experience. The Young Women in Business at Simon Fraser University sacrificed Friday evening on a Valentine’s Day weekend to  learn about a new career management tool that is fast becoming essential for career progression in a noisy, highly competitive and global business environment. The industrial revolution gave us mass production and the information society promises individualism. In a world where creative is the new industrial, forward thinking individuals are left with no choice but to consciously manage and nurture their Personal Brands!

 Happy Valentines's Day

The Young Women in Business at SFU are a well organized and motivated group that proactively seeks out relevant learning opportunities! During my interactive presentation students were highly engaged and posed intelligent and thoughtful questions leading to rich discussions. A Shoutout to the social savvy ladies who live tweeted during the event @LuciaPecnikova, @timaarak,  @kaylabordignon, @tiffanielai, @AngelQixy, @janeychiu, @JVieve89, @mdstephanierw, @xjleong, @ywibsfu,@katieraeh, @kaylabordignon,@pattiez!

Teg Brar's Personal Branding Workshop, Simon Fraser University Twitter Feed

Teg Brar's Personal Branding Workshop, Simon Fraser University Twitter FeedTeg Brar's Personal Branding Workshop, Simon Fraser University Twitter FeedTeg Brar's Personal Branding Workshop, Simon Fraser University Twitter FeedTeg Brar's Personal Branding Workshop, Simon Fraser University Twitter Feed

Personal Branding requires time, conscious effort, careful planning, commitment, and ongoing management. It must be at the core of your career management strategy! So begin now! Give people a compelling reason to buy brand YOU. Why should they care?

The responsibility of learning the right skills to succeed in our new business environment rests on you! Groups like the Young Women in Business at Simon Fraser University @Ywibsfu help prepare for success in a transparent, hyper connected and flat world! This is their edge!

Teg Brar, Msc.

Your name is the soul of your Personal Brand. It is the special part of you that evokes sentiment, a special gift that you receive from your parents. It is something that you cannot influence but have to live with for the remainder of your life (well, in most cases). Our names give us identity. When called by our name, we feel important and well treated. That is why top hotels in the world such as the Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons spend a great deal of time and resources training their staff to use guest names to cultivate personal connections with their guests. Your name is your label and a symbol of you. Oprah, Tiger Woods, Richard Branson, Seth Godin…their names play a powerful role in their iconic personal brands.

Great importance is placed on names and in many cultures rituals and ceremonies are a common part of the process. Wise people are consulted when naming a child to ensure that the name is in perfect harmony with the birth date.

Sometimes people are just not comfortable with their given names! They feel their given names do not do justice to who they are and hinder their success to some extent. They feel the weight of the Pygmalion effect where their image is influenced by their unattractive name. In such cases, people make the dicison to change their given names despite the lengthy bureaucratic process. Celebrities cleverly utilize the power of names to build their personal brands.
Would Babyface encounter the same success if he remained Kenneth Edmonds or Demi Moore remained Demetria Guynes, Lady Gaga stayed Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and Marilyn Monroe did not change to Norma Jean (Mortenson) Baker? We will never know!

In today’s social and transparent environment, names have taken on a whole different meaning. People are making impressions and altering perceptions based on their search queries and the readily available information from social networks. Google CEO Eric Schmidt in an interview with the Wall Street Journal predicts that young people will one day be allowed to change their names to escape their embarrassing digital footprints and revelations on sites such as Facebook. As more stakeholders use the internet to conduct preliminary searches on potential candidates and more and more content is indexed by search engines this could be a real problem and Eric Schmidt’s assumptions may not altogether be far fetched. Twitter content is already indexed by search engines; imagine if your Facebook updates were to follow? And I don’t think we are too far away from that!

Will changing names and creating new identities be enough to make a fresh start? Not with the sophisticated facial recognition frameworks that extract landmarks, features, skin texture and use 3d technology to captures dimensions of a face to make clear identification.

Your name is your most valuable asset ande you should do everything to nurture, protect and know it. Personal branding is all about perceptions and we have to make a conscious effort to ensure that our name creates positive impressions in the minds of people.

By Teg Brar, MSc.

Who you are, what you could be, what you achieve and what you are capable of achieving are all determined by no one else but YOU. You hold the key to unlocking your potential. The beginning of a new year is always a good time to ruminate if you are happy with YOU!

A wise person once said “Never tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” Michelangelo the great Italian Renaissance painter and sculptor also quoted that the greatest danger is not that we set our goals too high and miss them but that we set them too low and achieve them. We have the capacity to achieve far more than we actually do.

Being yourself is key to building your personal brand, simply put, no one else knows you better than you. It’s your life and defining it is the most important business you will ever incorporate in your life.

Our dear ones with all good intentions try to help us with our career decisions. Mostly conventional routes! In this over stimulated and attention stripped 21st century thinking ‘conventional’ might be the last route to success!

I recently coached a very bright young man who wanted to be a hotel general manager. During our last session he reached for his wallet and pulled out two gold cards, a visa and a mastercard and said “Teg, my parents are trying to bribe me, they want to me to continue with a Bachelor and a Master’s degree, but I just want to go and do it”. He had successfully completed a diploma in Hotel Management and had a burning desire to get on with it!

So go ahead, live your dreams. You don’t need anyone’s permission! I would like to wish all my friends a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
By Teg Brar, MSc.

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