5 Branding Tips in 15 Minutes

I’m super amp’d in this Podcast, it’s obvious I had my coffee this morning.

These are 5 quick branding tips for anyone with a project, whether you’re a startup, movement or personality.
I had the pleasure of joining Debra Eckerling on her Guided Goals podcast.
It’s quick, it’s high-energy and everyone’s hair looks elegantly aggressive. Join us.

 

P.S.: Like this? Subscribe to the Debra’s podcast because she’s got some great guests on tap!

Overcoming Fear In Your Startup

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Poodle Mafia Marketing and Branding for Startups - Babe Ruth

A little departure today from the usual marketing and branding discussion.
Because of our focus on startups, personalities and movements, I find that my role with my client is part strategy and part cheerleader.
So today, I want to share some strategies for overcoming fear.
Actually, overcoming is the wrong word, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

One of the things I encounter a lot with my clients is fear.
At some point, every entrepreneur, every creative, every personality encounters the devil inside.
The devil whispers into your ear and heart and mind, it’s like an ear worm that wiggles its way into your project and creates self doubt.

I’m not a therapist or a life coach, I’m giving this advice because I’ve helped many people through it and most honestly, from a place of “I’ve been there.”
I’ve started 3 businesses in my life, and recently, re-branded the third.
I know fear. I know fear intimately.
I’ve been living and feeding off of fear almost my entire career.
And for the most part, when I’ve harnessed my fear, it’s been my bitch.
That’s not to say I’m never afraid. Oh, no, do NOT misunderstand me.
But fear is so powerfully positive when it’s directed appropriately.
So the advice I give to others on this topic is advice I give myself.

The typical advice is to push that fear down.
Ignore it.
I don’t subscribe to that philosophy at all.
And here’s why:
YOU can use IT.
You don’t need to OVERCOME FEAR, you need to HARNESS FEAR.
Fear can be the thing that propels you through the hardest part of your project.
You can use fear like a shot in the butt.
Fear is the thing that gives you the adrenaline you NEED to stay up late,  get up early, come up with the next best idea.
In fact, I’d go so far to say if you’re not feeling a LITTLE bit of fear, you’re not fully vested.
So why NOT harness the fear and make it a positive as opposed to a negative?

Here are some tips on harnessing fear for different types of fear.

 

Fear of (In)Authenticity

Chances are, as you go through your product or persona, you’ll polish and change it.
Then all of a sudden one day, you’ll wake up and think “Is THIS what I really meant it to be?”
Have I polished and perfected so much that I’m no longer presenting the product as I meant it to be?
When this happens, go through your earliest notes, emails and brainstorms.
Check yourself. See if the process still seems authentic and real as a journey and evolution.
This happens A LOT in marketing and branding. Suddenly, someone is marketing your idea as something totally different than you originally envisioned.
Personalities experience this a lot too. What’s the difference between sharing everything and creating an authentic persona?
You CAN have an authentic voice without giving up your original vision. It IS possible.
Every single project is going to have a pivot point, a path of departure, a choice you made.
Take your pulse here and make sure that the path of departure still seems important and real and helpful.
AND that  the changes you made a long the way were well thought out, strategic and intentional.
If so, then use your fear to reconfirm you’re on the right track. Taking your own pulse once in awhile is a good thing. It’s what KEEPS it real.
If you find that you’ve lost your way, go back and find the point of departure and look at what you can do to reinject your original vision into the plans you have today.
Chances are you’re not as far off the path as you thought you were, but doing the exercise will put you back in touch with your original vision and allow you to reconfirm your original intent.
You’ll find that once you allow yourself to get back in touch with your original intent, then it will be clarifying to you and everyone around you.

 

Fear of Launch

This fear is the one that wakes you up in the middle of the night right before you’re ready to launch and says “YOU’RE NOT READY.”
First of all, let’s face it, a lot of this particular fear is about rejection. “What if I put something out there and no one bites. Or worse, they HATE it.”
Here’s the deal: put your heart and soul into something, stay committed to it and I guarantee you SOMEONE will love it.
That’s not to say that the love doesn’t take work to earn. That’s not to say that the love comes on YOUR timeline.
It is to say, let go of the idea of rejection. You can LEARN from rejection. You can shift, reinvent and accomplish based on rejection.
Rejection is NOT the worst thing that’s ever happened to you.
How can you HARNESS this to make your product launch better?
This is the stage that’s sort of like the night before a big college exam.
If you’ve done ALL the preparation you need to do, then use the fear to zero in on the 1 or 2 areas where you feel weakness, then you can use fear to focus on small, but relevant improvements.
Once you go through those 1 or 2 areas that you’re fearful about, and solve for them, you’ll feel more confident and your launch will be better.

 

Fear of Perfection

This fear is closely related to Fear of Launch, but it’s slightly different.
Here’s the one thing you need to know about Fear of Perfection: use it, abuse it and throw it away.
Nothing in the history of humans has ever reached perfection. Nothing.
If you let perfection dominate your launch and outlook, you’ll be forever paralyzed.
Do the best you can and if you have to touch more than three times, you’re allowing the fear of perfection dominate you.
Three times. That’s it. That’s all you get. Make ’em count.
That’s how you harness this fear.

Fear of Reinvention

This is the fear that says “it’s already been done before.”

I’m super intimate with this fear. I have several projects on the shelf suffering from this as we speak.
But here’s the deal with this fear: it’s total bullshit.
Because no one has done it the way YOU would do it.
Think about authors. If they said “I want to write a mystery novel, but someone’s already written that.” There sure wouldn’t be very much to read would there?
Every single one of us is inspired along the way by products, pieces of art, text, that us and millions of others have seen.
But YOU have a unique way of seeing it. It’s the unique vision, that unique voice that you have to offer.
Your take on the world is singular and interesting and unique.
In fact, chances are, no matter WHAT your building, creating and doing someone else is or has done it.
So sit down and think about your unique perspective. Clear your mind of everyone else’s vision, spend some time on YOUR vision, your voice.
I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again – the ONLY thing unique you have to offer is YOU.
So take a deep breath and use fear to clarify what makes you and your perspective unique.

Harness your fear and make it work for you.
Keep putting one foot in front of another.
One step at a time.
When you fell fear and anxiety creeping in, don’t look at the marathon, look at the next block.
Again, it’s not about overcoming fear, it’s about harnessing it.

I’d really love to hear how you have found ways to harness your fears and make it work for you.
Comment or send me a tweet!

The Notable Chef – How to Stand Out Using Digital Media

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I’ll be at the Western Food Show in Los Angeles  on Monday of this week, in honor of that amazing industry, I’m doing a series this week on food-related movements, personalities and startups. Tweet me if you’re there

Like every other career choice, choosing to be a Chef doesn’t guarantee fame and fortune.
But unlike every other career choice, the world has a natural intrigue with Chef’s.
Long before TopChef and Food Blogs and Yelp, I lived with a Chef. The minute people found out about it, their eyes flew open and there jaws began to wag with questions.
“Do you eat a gourmet dinner every night?”
Um. No. He’s working at dinner time and when he comes home, around 2am, he isn’t generally interested in doing what’s he’s been doing the last 12 hours.
“Does he teach you how to cook?”
Well, I certainly learned a lot about food being around a Chef, but the process of becoming a Chef doesn’t really happen by osmosis.

The point is, people are fascinated by Chefs.

If you’re a Chef, you can use this to your advantage. Whether you’d prefer to stay employed at other restaurants or want to strike out on your own, having a digital brand makes you more attractive to employers and investors. Let’s face it, the restaurant biz is super risky, if you can eliminate some of that risk, aren’t you at a distinct advantage?

You’re probably thinking “Being a Chef is a full-time job, I don’t have time to become a brand.”
I understand that concern, but, if you’ll hear me out, here are three things you can do easily to extend your brand.

First, know this:

It doesn’t have to be a major time suck.
You can use Instagram, SnapChat, whatever tool you use, to share tiny tidbits of inspiration with us. You can go total stream of consciousness.
Don’t worry about imperfections-you’re a Chef, not a digital graphic designer.
You’re a human, not a multi-national brand (yet).
Take advantage of your humanity and capitalize on it while you can.

Use Your Natural Talents

As a Chef, you probably already have a flair for the artistic. You probably see ideas everywhere you go, you’re probably creating inspired dishes in your head all.the.time.
You’re experience doesn’t have to be “just” about food. What’s the weather like when you leave work? Is the moon particularly spectacular right now? Take your “down” moments and turn them into “sharing” moments.
That’s awesome, take us on that journey. If you see a flower and the color inspires you to use a particular food in your dishes, tell us about it.
We just want to see the life of a Chef. We just want a small amount of inspiration of our own.

Tell The Story

I never met a Chef that didn’t have a story. Weave your story into your inspirations and tell us about them.
You can take selfies if you want, use pictures from your past…show us side by sides of what the inspiration was, and what it became in your interpretation.
Everything you can do to personalize your food allows people to relate to you better…and when people relate to you better, your food becomes even more amazing.
Take pictures of other people who eat your food, let us see ourselves in their spots.
And while you’re telling your story, invite others to share theirs. Let them know you’re curious about them too.

The Daily Grind

What you see as everyday “stuff” other people might be fascinated by.
Chopping onions? Stand that phone up and let us see your technique, you can talk us through it or not. It’s :30 seconds of amazing for those of us with pathetic knife skills.
Picking out produce? Share your secrets with us. What makes a good watermelon? How do you know when a mango is perfectly ripe?
We’re endlessly interested in how your everyday knowledge can work in our world.

Start a Movement

Some Chefs transcend the kitchen by starting movements. Jamie Oliver is an awesome example of this. You don’t have to have your own restaurant or TV show to start a movement.
Digital media is the great equalizer.
Tell us what you stand for and own it. Be a passionate advocate for something you’re passionate about.
Talk about it, weave it into your tiny tidbits.
Standing for something makes you stand out, but it also gives people a view of who you are and gives them a reason to be passionate about you.

If you’re a chef on social media, I’d love to follow YOUR journey. Hit me up on Twitter or Instagram so I can follow along.