corporate brand

Achieve Personal Brand Victory with These Olympics Lessons

Gold medal

With the Olympics, the great thing about living in one country and coming from another is I get to cheer for both, because I have double the chance of celebration. Go Canada, Go Great Britain!

Having worked with a number of former athletes, the Olympics give me the opportunity to witness great triumphs and disappointments that are accompanied by wonderful stories. I appreciate and admire an athlete’s struggles and sacrifices. I am also struck by examples of this year’s younger winners being inspired, even mentored by some of the more established and successful athletes.

Joseph Schooling first met Michael Phelps when he was 13, during the Beijing Olympics when Phelps visited his local swimming club. Eight years later, he beat Phelps in the 100 metre butterfly to win the first ever gold medal for Singapore.

Over the years, the Olympics has become much more of a commercial venture, at least in some aspects. Although host nations seem to be almost guaranteed to lose money, brands like Nike and Under Armour and top athletes usually win. Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have become huge personal brands, with significant endorsement deals and rewards for winning. Even Joseph Schooling earned $750,000 for his medal.

However, I am sure that most Olympic athletes do not ‘do it’ for the money. The investment in supporting them to get to world-class levels can cost a country’s association way more than the bonus for medaling.

For me, one of the best examples of the win being everything was the sheer surprise and joy on the face of 16 year old Canadian Penny Oleksiak when winning a gold medal. Money was not in that picture.

The Olympic brand and logo does have huge monetary and recognition value and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is almost manic about its control. This is in part to help protect the sponsors and the huge investments they make in wanting to be recognised and associated with the event.

So what are the Olympics showing us that you can apply to your personal brand?

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Lessons From Discover Your Personal Brand Conference – The All Star Panel

HR Leaders 4

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak again at the Discover Your Personal Brand Conference.  DYPB 2016 was different from 2014 in a number of ways.

The focus was more toward small business and the caliber of speaker, panels and attendees was awesome. There were many inspiring young Canadians in attendance that really gave me a lift about the future of our country. All held within the back drop of Telus’ state of the art office in downtown Toronto, an environmental LEED building, bursting with technology and balanced with space and light.

The opportunity to attend conferences is always a big investment, even if its local so it was great to get such a rich experience. 

After introductions from the motivating conference organizer and founder Bobby Umar and keynotes from the always excellent Mark Bowden and inspiring Real Food for Real Kids founder Lulu Cohen-Farnell the highlight of the first evening for me was the Personal Brand Leadership All Star Panel. They were;

Cameron Gordon, Head of Communications, Twitter – Moderator
Erin Bury, Managing Director at 88 Creative
Jennifer Ettinger, Founder & President at Fit Your Style
Jagmeet Singh, MPP, ONDP Deputy Leader
Bobby Umar, Founder, Raeallan & DYPB

Full bios and more details on the schedule and other speakers can be found here 

Here is a Summary of the questions and panel answers;

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7 Best Practices For Being a Conference Guerrilla

Connectfest 2

The following story is an example of how the actions recommended in this series of articles can work for you. Whilst they are intended mostly for longer conferences they can apply and work equally well to one off events.

How to be a Conference Guerrilla – Part 1 – Pre-Conference can be read here. 

In our time-crunched lives and with the option of virtual events, physically attending conferences can be a hard decision to make.  Approach events with more than just looking at the speaker line up, the complimentary networking sessions or in some cases to get the professional development credits checked off.  Instead actually measure the ‘return on investment’ of attending a conference. Start using this mindset and you will see the value to your organization and your personal brand in getting out there.

I once went to hear Keith Ferrazzi, author of “Never Eat Alone” speak at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business. I learnt about the event from the organizer who had booked me to speak there a few months earlier.

I followed Keith’s advice in his book about ‘bumping‘ the speaker before they go on stage and engaging them quickly to gain a follow-up.  I had brought my copy of the book and asked him to ‘sign it before he became famous’ – a quote from the book. He commented that I had obviously read the book and I said it was (and still is) my most referred and recommended book on networking. I have even given several people copies as gifts.  I then told him that I would like the opportunity to follow up with him to discuss how to make his book the #1 business book in Canada. “Absolutely” he said and handed me his card.

As I walked away,  someone behind him had taken my lead and asked for their book to be signed.  I heard Keith ask the person….Read More »7 Best Practices For Being a Conference Guerrilla

What the LinkedIn Acquisition by Microsoft Might Mean to You

MS buys LI

There had been rumours in the past of LinkedIn seeking strategic partners or an acquirer, with several technology companies being the possible ‘one’.  Yesterday saw the news that the successful one will be Microsoft.

My initial thought is I hope this has positive results for many of the areas that LinkedIn seems to be falling short on with technology and that Microsoft does not allow this purchase to squander or suffer like it has with Skype and other poor past acquisitions.

The challenge with any merger, big or small is the merging of leadership styles and cultures. Everything said initially is for the benefit of the stakeholders – investors, employees and users. The reality rolls out differently over the coming months, after all the deal does not close until the end of 2016, so don’t expect any wholesale changes until well in to 2017.

Naturally this was big news in the business world and a lot has been said, with much more to be said over the coming days and weeks. I have collected a few thoughts from the main parties involved as well as some social media, social selling and LinkedIn experts, here is what they had to say;

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How Greening Your Business Can Boost Your Career & Your Values

The #COP21 Climate Change International Conference going on in Paris this week is big news. Hopefully for more than just creating headlines and soundbites. But how can you personally relate to environmental issues to what you on a day to day basis or how this impacts your job? A poll by the job board, found that 81% of Canadians considered that their employer was “polluting the environment,” “ignoring the need to be environmentally friendly,”… Read More »How Greening Your Business Can Boost Your Career & Your Values

10 Ways To Display Your Talents At Work Without Feeling Sleazy, or Brash!

In a conversation with a senior management client it was interesting to observe that even with their list of impressive and significant accomplishments they were very reluctant to talk about them, even admit them and certainly not willing to put them down on paper or share them as a way of promoting themselves at work. And this was even though they were looking for that next project or promotion. Working… Read More »10 Ways To Display Your Talents At Work Without Feeling Sleazy, or Brash!

An Incredibly Easy Method For Creating Your Personal Brand Statement & Attracting Your Ideal Clients

“Everybody is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” – Mark Twain Three separate lunar events occurred at the same time on September 27th, what was called by some as a Super Harvest Blood Moon. This event has happened only five times since 1900. The last time was in 1982, and it won’t happen again until 2033. On top of that this blood moon was… Read More »An Incredibly Easy Method For Creating Your Personal Brand Statement & Attracting Your Ideal Clients

How to ACE Connecting Your Personal Brand to Your Work recently surpassed Wal-Mart to become the worlds largest retailer by market value. has over 180,000 employees working worldwide, making it hard for the company to develop and maintain a culture that is embraced, and in line with the perceptions that people have of its brand. “Brand is how others see you, culture is how you see yourself.” Curt Coffman This became evident after a New York Times article last Sunday… Read More »How to ACE Connecting Your Personal Brand to Your Work

4 Steps to Turn Social Media Into a Positive Customer Service Experience

“Social media is a promise to your customers to listen and engage” was how Russel Lolacher wrapped up his presentation.  While I had engaged with prospects and clients on social media, I had never really considered that it is a customer service tool. But it makes sense. This week is the fourth in a series of articles I have written based on my opportunity to attend the annual Conference in… Read More »4 Steps to Turn Social Media Into a Positive Customer Service Experience

Are You Worried About What You Do On Weekends Will Affect Your Personal Brand?

A week ago you had most likely never heard of Cecil the Lion.  Now there are over 40 million web page references, a petition with over a quarter of a million signatures and the animal’s own Wikipedia entry. If you happen to have missed the highest trending story in the news and on social media this week, Cecil the lion was a protected animal on a game reserve in Zimbabwe. … Read More »Are You Worried About What You Do On Weekends Will Affect Your Personal Brand?