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  • Do’s and Don’ts of Asking For a Raise

    Everybody wants to get a fair paycheck for the accomplishments they have achieved. In the ideal scenario, your boss notices your achievements and gives you a raise. However, in the real world this is not really the case and you need to stand up for yourself and ask for a raise. Unfortunately, this is not a very easy situation and can be very stressful. For this reason, this week I have put together the do’s and don’ts of asking for a raise and below you can read about them.

    • Never say that your coworker’s salaries are higher than yours and that is why you deserve a raise. When you talk about others’ salaries, it means you are gossiping in the workplace and this is not professional at all. Even if you think you deserve a higher paycheck than someone else, keep it to yourself because you never know whether the information you have heard is correct. Instead, talk about your accomplishments and why you think you deserve getting a raise.
    • Don’t try to emotionally blackmail your boss. Everybody has personal problems that they need to deal with. However, the needs of your children or the hospital expenses of your parents don’t mean you deserve a higher salary. Therefore, don’t try to arouse pity for yourself using your personal problems. Give your boss a valid reason for a higher salary.
    • If you want to ask for a raise, then schedule a meeting. Never ask this via email. It is much better if you ask this in person so that you can understand from the reaction of your boss what s/he really thinks. Maybe s/he also thinks that you deserve a promotion but due to budget restraints, s/he cannot afford to give you a raise right now or maybe s/he thinks you need to work more to deserve a promotion. Whatever the reason is, the best way to understand your boss’s real feelings is to talk with him/her.
    • Never start the conversation by saying you have done all of your duties. Of course, you will do all of your duties because this is why are getting paid for. Remember you are asking for a raise and a raise means getting extra from your agreed paycheck. Therefore, your boss will ask you what extra work you have done so far to deserve this raise. If you think you deserve a raise, then you should be ready for the extra work because if you will get paid more, this means that you should take on more responsibilities.

     

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    Posted in Personal Branding, Positioning, Success Strategies, Workplace Success

    Positive Risks Payoff Big Time

    There is a saying among old cowboys out West: “One man with courage is the majority.”

    When I write about courage, intestinal fortitude, guts, and boldness to differentiate yourself, it’s not to encourage you to do stupid, risky things. I’m not looking for the daredevil mentality that causes you to rappel off the Brooklyn Bridge or swim with the sharks. Nor need you be like one CEO who said: “I’ve always taken chances. At 54 years old, I married an 18-year-old. Her dad didn’t like me or the idea at all. I told him, ‘Look, you’re not losing a daughter. You’re gaining a brother.’. . . I was a hyper child, always getting into trouble like the time I looked inside a gas tank with a match. I learned you don’t do that.”

    I’m not asking for utter fearlessness and risk without thinking. Just “go for it” a little more and more often than you have in the past—and more often than others do. If you hold back, you’ll get into a rut, slip behind, fade out of sight, and sink into the sameness of the people around you.

    A calculated risk is just another way of saying to:

     

    Show some spine.

    Put it on the line and see it through.

    Leave it all on the playing field.

    Creatively work with fear.

    Think the unpopular thing.

    Have the gumption to go off the grid.

    Be willing to bet your job on a hunch.

    Step out of the box.

    Be unafraid to fall flat on your face.

    If you don’t fight through timidity, you will have regrets. Few individuals look back on their lives and think, “Wow, I should have never tried for that bigger job.” But many will look back with regret: “Why didn’t I have the guts to try for that bigger job?” Or “Why didn’t I speak up?” “Why didn’t I step up?” “Why didn’t I step it up?” “Why . . . why . . . why?”

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    How to Ensure Your Brand Messages and Values Align

    How do you ensure the messages your brand relays — in both overt and underlying messages — are in line with the values you aim to convey?

    These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

    1. Ensure a Consistent Narrative

    My brand narrative is consistent, and my company culture is predicated on my narrative. Any message, whether in a newsletter, social communication, new product or even a meeting, has derivatives of the narrative and culture. I started as an immigrant and built my business from the ground up; my values and those of my team are very closely aligned with the concepts of constant learning and honesty. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

    2. Explicitly Discuss Your Values

    Listing out a few values for your brand isn’t enough. You need to discuss what those values mean. If your organization values diversity but your board and executives all come from similar backgrounds, you need to discuss what your organization is doing to improve diversity in leadership long before you start planning brand messaging about your organization’s commitments to diversity. – Thursday Bram, The Responsible Communication Style Guide

    3. Remember Every Employee Represents Your Brand

    This is a valuable lesson I learned in high school while working at a little corner deli in New Jersey. Your customers can always buy similar products elsewhere. What they’re really paying for is your service. Every person in your organization, from the janitor, to the doorman, to the CEO, represents the brand, and the message should never change: quality, consistency, and training. – Ali Mahvan, Sharebert

    4. Have a Personal Cabinet

    When attempting to reconcile your brand messages with your values, it may not be the best idea to consult with fellow team members. They might be biased in ways that you can’t observe. Instead, my advice is to consult a personal group of friends or close family members that share your values. This is the best way to truly ascertain if your values are honestly and genuinely being represented. – Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

    5. Use Customer Surveys

    Every message has a key takeaway that aligns back to your values and your brand. I usually use surveys to ensure that my brand is being exposed with my values. I ask my audience what words describe my brand. When I receive responses, I know which direction to steer to keep my audience engaged. There is a fine line between your message and values and your audience. Are you bridging the gap? – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

    6. Hold Brainstorming Sessions

    We have a brainstorming session with the entire team regarding our company values, mission and vision. It’s more likely that when we discuss and consider feedback from employees, they remember the values for a long time and always stick with those. We also send a series of reminders on our company Slack channel where we share the values, vision and mission so that those are consistent everywhere. – Liam Martin, TimeDoctor.com, Staff.com

    7. Define Your Brand First

    By clearly defining your brand, you create a lens that you view every communication and message through. This isn’t something simple or quick — a brand definition should be several creative brainstorms that stretch over a few days every few months, as our brands evolve constantly. When looking at messages being relayed by your brand, make sure they make sense with that brainstorm! – Jen Brown, The Engaging Educator

    8. Believe in Your Message

    It is impossible to adequately convey a brand message without actually believing the message. Internally, each member of the team must truly believe in the brand and mission of the brand. This communal belief will shine through in all the steps that are taken to overtly convey the message and the underlying belief will be apparent to your clients as well. – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP

    9. Partner With a Cause

    The message of my brand is always about helping someone or something on the planet every time an item is sold. In order to stay on point, we partner with charities and organizations. In the past, this has included an underwater campaign to bring awareness to domestic abuse, fashion shows to promote world peace, and a tree planting campaign related to the sales of garments. – Dalia MacPhee, DALIA MACPHEE

    10. Be Your Brand

    If you live and breathe your brand, it will effectively reflect the values you aim to convey, as it will authentically reflect your values. Brands that are built on the basis on authenticity can endure, as the underlying and overt messaging will consistently reflect what the brand truly represents. – Adam Mendler, Beverly Hills Chairs

    11. Create Style Guides

    Create a proper style guide for your brand that covers not only visuals but content and your values as well. All of our content creators and marketers are in house and follow the same documentation and guidelines. Our chief editor has final sign off on almost all content created and also understands our values the best. – Karl Kangur, MRR Media

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    Why You Should Think About Google Featured Snippets Again for Your Brand

    Recently Google announced an update of its Featured Snippets for both desktop and mobile search. This provides a personal brand’s website an opportunity to appear in top results with answers to the most pressing questions online. Answers are displayed in a descriptive box in several different formats, including video.

    How is this important for your business website?

    According to Google the rise of mobile and voice search has caused the search engine to update their format for better viewing of search results that go beyond just “10 blue links.” Users can now see a visual of the information they are looking for right away.

    The goal of today’s brand is still to build something of value, and create a great experience for their audience. It’s important to create high quality content that engages a community. There are a few steps you can take to turn your brand’s website into a helpful resource for visitors to come back to again and again.

    • Focus on the common issue for your audience – What are the main pain points and questions being asked by your target market? You can discover this information through social media, responses on your blog, and through live videos and webinars.
    • Make sure your answers are clear and direct – When optimizing your content be sure to provide the exact answer people and search engines are looking for. This can be included in your blog posts, pages, and in the form of questions and answers on an FAQ page.
    • Include the right keywords – Through target market research find out which keywords are most commonly appearing in search queries and include these throughout your website. Take a look at what the competition is using as well and the number of results for each word.

    As a personal brand you will want to configure your content and website according to the latest technology with a focus on the most common devices people are using to gather information and make purchases. As search engines continue to evolve keep in mind that so does the elements of basic text in search results. Today’s visitor is drawn to visuals and clear, quick answers to their questions.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    So, You Want to Be a Futurist?

    Where do you start?

    How do you know when you’re done?

    This second question is supposed to be funny. I hope you at least smiled.

    I think the best way to start is by reading and watching what known and renowned futurists in your industry are doing. Also, by diving deep into areas where you have an interest. I know this sounds quite obvious, but it’s the way we can learn what others are doing, seeing, and predicting. I do have a few recommendations though.

    Tips for future futurists:

    1. Write down what you’re thinking today
    2. Write down what you’re thinking tomorrow will look like
    3. Most Important – Grade Yourself. Take the time to go back to what you have previously written and give yourself a grade.

    History is bound to repeat itself.

    Or, perhaps a better way to say this is …

    Don’t ignore history

    While it is true that technology advances impact the way the future will be realized the fact remains many of the things we’ve seen have already happened in one way, shape, or form.

    Are there new things developed? Sure. But, quite often the way humans interpret those innovations follow a pattern.

    Will this change as more AI and robots take over? That’s hard to say.

    Perhaps you have a prediction about that. Share them in the comments if you are so inclined.

    So, what’s your definition of a futurist?

    The good news is… you get to define who is a futurist. In a sense everyone is a futurist. However, some people are much better at predicting things farther out in the future than others. By “better” I mean they have a demonstrable track record of success in predicting the future. See the first 3 points in the beginning of this post.

    If you live in the technology arena you probably have several people that you have observed over the years as being “good“ and “predictable” futurists.

    Some are more generic than others, but they have spotted trends and documented them. And, quite often they have turned out to be true.

    For example, Gordon Moore of Intel came up with… what else… Moore’s Law.

    Moore’s Law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years.

    This has held true for several decades. There were and are physical and technological factors that influenced each iteration. It’s likely this will compress in the coming years with the rise of quantum computing and continued improvements in design, manufacturing, and other factors.

    What does it mean to be a futurist?

    Does being a futurist mean accurately predicting the future any specific time and place? I think the answer is no. I’d certainly like to hear your opinion in the comments. Futurists are especially good at making predictions 10, 20, even 50 years out. Yes, many of these are educated guesses. But, the education and thinking behind those “guesses” can be years in the making. To me a futurist is anyone that is willing to take the time to make bold predictions and to write them down or put them on video. As noted in point 3 above the definition of a good futurist

    Can a futurist be a sci-fi writer?

    Absolutely. Science-fiction writers, or as they are sometimes called speculative fiction writers a.k.a. Spec fiction, often have a fanciful and somewhat precognition vision of what the future could be. Does what they say and show always come through? Absolutely not. They are writing a story. Not necessarily trying to be futurists.

    A few great writers that come to mind include HG Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. There are many, many others. I only use these as an example. But, each of them created amazing worlds and people with equally amazing skills that seem

    What about actual Futurists? Here are some of my favorites:

    You may disagree with my list and I encourage you to add yours to the comments

    • Tech and Publishing – Tim O’Reilly
    • Tech and Society – Buckminster Fuller
    • Economist – Milton Friedman – A thinker with futurist oriented economic thinking
    • Government – Amy Webb and the need for The Department of the Future
    • Philanthropy – Bill Gates and Warren Buffett

    I am also a fan of Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, and the Freakonomics guys.

    What about Reverse Futurists?

    There are people out there that just want to tell it like it is and I would argue that they aren’t necessarily what I would call a futurist by definition. But, they are for lack of a better terms a”reverse futurist“

    People like Tom Peters who wrote the seminal book “In Search of Excellence“ and regularly talks about what’s really going on in the workplace. So, by definition he’s not describing the future he’s describing the present. But, quite often the present he is describing is what could and should be envisioned as the future of the corporation. , quite often the present he is describing is what could and should be envisioned as the Corporation of the Future.

    Others that fit this category W. Edwards Deming, Alfred Sloan, Thomas Watson Senior, and many others that defined what their vision was and most importantly put it into practice and build businesses around their vision. By applying their special skills for reducing defects, automation, technology adoption, respectively they created a framework to create the future of the companies they worked with and/or built from the ground up.

    Back to being a futurist. I think the future will continue to hold a lot of promise and allow those that are willing to make bold predictions to continue to make those predictions. For those that try and those that end up having a modicum of success they will find that they stand out in your career. If you try and find that you aren’t great at it … don’t give up. Try again and remember the first three points above. The more you try the better you’ll get.

    So, you want to be a futurist?

    It’s never been easier to try. Perhaps you won’t change the world, but I don’t think that is the most critical part of being a futurist. Unless, you expect to be paid for your vision. And, there’s nothing wrong with being paid for your vision. But, there’s also nothing wrong with making predictions, backing them up with facts, writing them down, and giving yourself a grade on how you did on your predictions

    As Tim O’Reilly said in his book WTF … “I was named future just because of one paper I wrote where I ended up getting a lot of things right.”

    The essay was “What is Web 2.0

    He said it much more modestly. He said “I didn’t invent the future… I drew a map of the present technology… that is shifting the business landscape“ and in a sense this is what being a futurist is all about. Thinking of maps, finding missing pieces, aligning your thoughts, and seeking to fill gaps. It’s not easy and perhaps it can take a special kind of creative thinking, but I do believe almost anyone can put their mind to work and “become” a futurist. Even if only for a small point in time out there in the future. You’ll never know until you try. So, just try.

    Some of the modern futurists I’ve been following include:

    Yes, they are all women. Hint: The Future is Female. At least in the way I’m thinking of futurists. One where we tap into a vastly underutilized resource. Females have been and continue to be vastly underrepresented. Imagine … engaging the “other” 50% of the world’s population.  Females have been and continue to be vastly under-represented in STEM and every other field. We can fix that. I’ve been working on that for several years and will continue to advocate for more women in technology (and every other field).

    So, you still want to be a futurist?

    Read about and learn from some of the people I mention here. Follow the first three points and especially the 3rd point. See how you do. Perhaps you’ll have a knack for predicting the future and be able to confidently call yourself a futurist. I hope so.

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    Posted in Career Development, Personal Branding

    10 Considerations Prior to Accepting a New Job

    The job market seems much better lately, and more and more offers are being extended to applicants. Some move into the new positions from other jobs and others from being in transition. In both cases, those job seekers miss out if they don’t take a holistic approach to specific evaluation of the new opportunity.

    Often, the excitement associated with receiving the offer of a new job and accepting it, plus the flattery expressed by that job offer, may lead to a too-quick decision. It’s advisable to first do some meticulous due diligence in order to avoid a possibly costly mistake, because numerous questions need clear answers before you become able to make a final decision. Here are a few.

    • How important to you are the content and the level of responsibility in the new job?
    • Does the new job fit your personality?
    • Does your new boss’s management style align with yours?
    • Are there future opportunities for promotion?
    • Will the new job satisfy your work/life balance?
    • Are the commuting time and distance acceptable?
    • Is the amount of business travel expected in the new job acceptable?
    • Is the compensation–in the form of salary and bonuses–acceptable?
    • How about employee benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans?
    • This may not be a complete list, but it’s a good beginning.

    People make life decisions based on their logic and their emotions. The outcomes are typically an aggregate of the two. Someone who’s been in transition for a while is more prone to make emotional decisions, and yet accepting a new job should be judged on the job’s merit and on logical reasoning. In such a situation as the acceptance of a job offer, it’s sometimes helpful to discuss the issue with a friend or, better yet, with a professional such as a career coach who deals with such matters frequently. The following might be a rhetorical question, but if you had a serious medical condition, would you seek a consultation with a friend or with a physician?

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    Posted in Articles

    How to Swing Back After a Business Venture Goes Awry

    Even many of the most successful entrepreneurs have the experience of a business venture going wrong. The intricacies of business can cause a venture to falter, even if you’re not directly responsible for the downfall. Unfortunately, the many moving cogs of a new venture can cause you to overlook essential factors, resulting in a regretful business venture.

    Many entrepreneurs stress the importance of bouncing back. As Bill Gates says: “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” The best entrepreneurs use the experience of a faltering business venture to swing back more forcefully than ever before with new projects.

    There are several ways to swing back strong after a business plan goes adrift.

    Don’t Conflate a Startup’s Potential

    In reality, many startups don’t turn out quite as planned. A Harvard Business School study finds that 75 percent of venture-backed startups fail. However, many fledgling entrepreneurs only see examples of startup success in the media, with former startups like Snapchat, Airbnb and Dropbox among the numerous success stories. Especially with many of these former startups so prevalent in day-to-day life, the idea of startup success can conflate into an unrealistic vision.

    The false impression of most startups finding success, when the opposite is true, can lead to some unwise entrepreneurial planning. Without recognizing the possibility of a given startup failing, some entrepreneurs can blindly devise a business plan without heeding any potential hiccups or bumps in the road.

    If your business plan doesn’t go as intended, it’s worth evaluating precisely why that happened, regardless of whether you had anything to do with it personally. It’s also worth acknowledging that the venture simply ended up like many do, so don’t treat it as an indictment of your potential or talent. From Warren Buffett to Bill Gates, even the most successful entrepreneurs have their share of investment and entrepreneurial failures.

    Realize That Profit Is Rarely Immediate

    With some exceptions, new business undertakings are unlikely to be profitable in their first year or two. A piece of knowledge that a faltering business can provide is the lack of immediacy in success. When starting your next venture, it will be easier to remember the multitasking, demanding work hours and mental requirements of your previous venture, helping you to form a decision over whether or not it’s going well. This time, with the earlier challenges fresh in your mind, prudence will play a larger role in evaluating the success of a business idea.

    Especially if your previous venture showed potential, but you lacked for capital to continue the experiment longer, it can be worthwhile to take some time off to gather funding before launching the next plan. Ideally, businesses should be able to support themselves financially for a given period, while buzz builds and the business model gets truly underway.

    Merge New Lessons with a New Industry

    A business venture that goes off-course can teach multiple lessons about that industry itself, particularly in how its customers react to a new product or service. Perhaps your business plan and idea felt solid, though the approach was not received well in the niche. If the product or service is in any way compatible with another industry, it can be very worthwhile to consider exploring that industry instead, especially if it’s an industry where you have pre-existing contacts.

    Keep Track of Happy Customers

    Even if your previous business plan didn’t work out as planned, you could still have previous customers that were happy with the product/service, or even your charm as a salesperson. When getting your next venture underway, be sure to reach out to these customers, mentioning your connection to the business with which they’re familiar and happy. Ideally, you will be able to get some lucrative leads with pre-existing connections.

    Take Inventory

    There are different levels of severity for a faltering business. Some failed business may drain investors dry, while others may have pulled the plug before serious damage occurred. Regardless, it’s prudent to take inventory of the funds and resources you do have. Taking inventory helps provide a realistic picture of when you can hop back on the horse and pursue a new idea, in addition to how much you can realistically invest in terms of money and time.

    Define More Realistic Goals

    Experience with a misguided business venture can help lead to more realistic goals in the future, with new knowledge surrounding what does and doesn’t work, in addition to realistic monetary expectations for the short and long-term within a specific industry. Plus, experience from past failures helps to correct and adjust in the future, enhancing your knowledge at the moment as you take action.

    A wavering or unsuccessful business endeavor is nothing new to the majority of active entrepreneurs. What’s important is how you bounce back, ideally with more gusto and passion than before. Failure can result in expanded knowledge regarding more realistic goals, networking opportunities and personal strengths, helping to increase the likelihood of your next endeavor being a smash hit.

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    Posted in entrepreneurship, Success Strategies, Workplace Success

    Most Common Workplace Worries

    We spent most of our daily time at work so ideally we want to feel comfortable there. Unfortunately, many of us feel stressful at work and always keep some worries at the back of our minds. Below are the most common workplace worries and how we can overcome them.

    • Getting fired: Anyone has the fear of getting fired at one point in their lives. Whether the economy is bad or your company has been acquired by a larger corporation, anyone can get called by HR and find themselves out. The best way to deal with this fear is talking to your manager about it. If you really trust your manager, then you can talk to him/her about your anxiety of getting fired or you can ask him/her how your performance is to get an idea about your position in the workplace. However, sometimes even if we are doing a great job, there may be mass layoffs in the company due to reorganization or downsizing. In this situation, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do.
    • Being passed over for a promotion deserved: If you really think that you deserve a promotion and someone in the workplace has been trying to backstab you, then like Bob Marley says in his song, you should “Get up, stand up for your rights!” The best way to seek your right in this situation is building relationships with other people. If you have others aside you, then they can also support you standing up for your rights.
    • Not being able to handle the workload: In some workplaces, there can be many days where you have to work overtime. For example; in auditing and accounting firms there is a busy season where everybody works until late nights or even work on weekends. If you cannot handle this workload, then first try to reorganize your tasks and activities to see if you can finish some of them quicker or at least try to finish the important ones first. Still if you are having trouble arranging your workload, maybe you can try to talk with your manager about it.
    • Being disliked by your manager/boss: Unfortunately, we cannot always get along with everyone. If you feel that you have a bad relationship with your manager, try to reassess your relationship. Think why your manager feels this way and how you can change it. Maybe you cannot communicate well or maybe your work styles are different. Whatever the reason is, it is up to you to correct it.
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    Posted in People, Personal Branding, Success Strategies, Workplace Success

    Plan for Setbacks — It’s Your Job

    In reality, a job is a to-do list and game plan interrupted by problems. Few days unfold trouble free. A phone message or e-mail brings an unplanned-for, unanticipated crisis. While dealing with that issue, another message or a colleague comes in with another new dilemma. It goes on incessantly throughout the day and into the next.

    Every day things go wrong. Doing a stellar job means you fix them.

    Problems range in size and intensity, but generally speaking anytime you have a difference between what you have and what you want, it’s a problem. And it needs to be dealt with in an analytical, thorough, and logical approach. Don’t be caught off guard by incessant tribulations. Assume something will go wrong today.

    This is not negative thinking, it’s preemptive. If you anticipate the possibility you won’t be stunned and caught off guard. Ask yourself, “What could happen to mess this up?” If you don’t consistently pose that question, you aren’t doing the complete job.

    Count on the probability that the worst thing will always happen at the worst time. If you expect things to get messy, by anticipatory thinking and action, you can keep them from getting messier.

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    Posted in Personal Branding

    Key Elements to Developing a Successful Brand Strategy

    What do you predict will become crucial to a successful brand strategy in 2018 as new trends emerge and gain ground?

    These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

    1. Customer Advocacy

    You can state over and over in marketing materials that your company is the best, but nothing resonates better with audiences than social proof. Focusing on customer satisfaction and letting their stories drive your brand is a sure-fire way of elevating your reputation and moving your audience to take action with your business. Nothing destroys a brand quicker than a few bad reviews on Google. – Suneera Madhani, Fattmerchant

    2. Transparent Narratives

    As artificial intelligence and augmented reality will be increasingly commonplace in business development strategies, trust in a brand is crucial. In order to build trust in your brand, in a world of AI, a transparent narrative that communicates on a personal level gives a brand a competitive edge. Additionally, keep your narrative consistent. My brand has diversified, but our narrative has not. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

    3. Developing a Clear Identity

    As consumers face the increasingly difficult challenge of cutting the clutter, it will become more important than ever for brands to develop clear and distinct identities. To resonate in an incredibly noisy marketplace, brands must clearly define and establish their best area on the map and utilize focused and targeted messaging to connect with their ideal audience. – Adam Mendler, Beverly Hills Chairs

    4. A Visual Content Takeover

    Brands can no longer sell themselves with words alone. The average attention span is shorter than ever, so given that visual communication is proven to engage people’s attention for longer, brands need to change their strategy. People connect with visuals 60,000 times faster than text, which means they’re more likely to connect to a brand whose marketing materials are visually powerful. – Amy Balliett, Killer Infographics

    5. Creativity

    In 2018 it is expected that social media will start penalizing vote baiting, clickbaiting, react baiting and share baiting. This means that many brands will have to look for alternative, more creative ways to engage their audience on social media, and their storytelling skills, tone of voice and overall presence will turn into a critical success factor. – David Henzel, davidhenzel.com

    6. Immersive and Personalized Customer Experiences

    Customers are growing to expect their interactions with brands to be more and more tailored to them as individuals. As AI technology becomes more integrated into the customer experience and the rise of the chatbots continues, that expectation will only grow. You need to embrace these technologies or risk being left behind. – Erik Bullen, MageMail

    7. Micro-Moments and the Ongoing Shift to Mobile

    Consumers are increasingly attached to smartphones. Searches on mobile exceed those on computers. Google has coined a new term to describe how consumers behave on their mobile devices: micro-moments. These are instants when consumers want to know where, when, what, why and how on the fly. Brands need to anticipate and utilize micro-moments to drive conversions. Be there, be useful and be quick. –Thomas SmaleFE International

    8. Short, Engaging Content on Social Media

    Short, engaging content on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat will become crucial to any successful brand strategy in 2018. If companies haven’t started implementing short snippets of engaging content, they’ll be missing out on potential growth. For companies already producing short snippets of content on all three platforms, they’ll be the ones that keep visitors coming back consistently. – Kristin Marquet,Creative Development Agency, LLC

    9. Affiliate Programs

    As more individuals start up their own YouTube channels and blogs, you will need to give them a reason to talk about your brand. The easiest way to do this is to create a financial incentive for them to mention your product by creating an affiliate program. You don’t need to know how to code to do this, there are already many websites that you can apply to join such as ShareASale and CJ Affiliate. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

    10. Authentic Human Touch

    The reason why live video is becoming popular is because audiences want to see you in person. They don’t just want visuals anymore, they want to be able to interact with you. If you aren’t true to your message people will be able to spot that right away and social media will help ensure it gets around. – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

    11. Associating With Cutting-Edge Developments

    Make big moves in emerging technologies and emerging ideas. Brands that are doing “it” first tend to steal the spotlight in media and in their customers’ hearts. Even if you don’t drink Red Bull, you associate the brand with amazing stunts, adventure and extreme sports. Align your brand with the craziest and most cutting-edge developments or events happening in your industry, and you will grow. – Ali Mahvan, Sharebert

    12. Avoiding Shiny Object Syndrome

    With an endless stream of new software and technologies, the urge to sample different strategies has never been stronger. The key to successful branding is, and has always been, consistency. Find a brand strategy with a proven track record that aligns with your unique skill sets and interests, make a content creation calendar and stick to that no matter what. – Joe FairlessAshcroft Capital

    13. A Return to Human Interaction

    As advanced as technology has become, automated email sequences and chatbots have become the norm and consumers are feeling more ignored than ever. Society is growing weary of the robots and automations, and in 2018 you will see more brands shift their focus back to building relationships with their consumers through real human interaction. – Scott Baxter, PlayYourCourse

    14. Enhanced Security

    Last year, data leaks affected almost everyone — particularly Equifax’s egregious leak of hundreds of millions of personal records. The general public is more aware of the importance of security and that many web services are unable or unwilling to put security first. Companies that prioritize customer security and privacy as a practice and a branding strategy will reap benefits in 2018. – Justin BlanchardServerMania Inc.

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