Let’s talk about your personal bio. I recently read Switchblade Lemonades’ excellent e-book ‘Bio Like Beyoncè’. Those of you who have read this blog long enough knows that I am a sucker for musical analogies. I want to end every article I ever have written with “keep on Rockin in a free world” or something like that. I LOVE that somebody has built an e-book around Beyonce.
However, it made me write a document called ‘My Game of Life‘ – which is a very very personal bio, in addition to my ‘professional’ bio. I think sometimes we need to go a bit deeper than looks and actually explain our traits and where we come from.
What to add in your personal bio
It can be hard to figure out where to cut the personal bio, meaning what you leave out or what you put in. There are some things in my personal bio that makes me cringe a bit – and I don’t know if I will keep it in there (who cares about whether or not I get tipsy at tech conferences?) however, this bit of information I also believe makes me… well, human. And I do believe that it’s something that others would love to know too, because, it’s a part of my personality.
To me, I would rather work with somebody where I know a bit about their history, in addition, to know about their achievements – but how deep should you go? How many of these traits should you be adding, and still not expose yourself completely, but simply giving you some twists and some of that sassy ‘je ne sais quoi’.
So get on with it! Personal bios in addition to your professional bio can teach you a thing or two about how you want the world to see you – it was good considerations for me at least. =)
We’re in times that are both challenging but also filled with opportunities. I am grateful for this global time-out because there’s something in it that has to teach us something bigger as humanity.
It’s a horrible horrible way for us to learn though. So many lives lost, so many numbers thrown at us daily and behind each number is a person, with a family, with a legacy and with a contribution to the planet.
We are in emergency operations now as part of my work at CARE. Most of the country offices have closed down their operations and are focusing on preparing for #Covid-19. What will happen when and if it hits Africa and what I am particularly concerned about is the refugee camps. How can it become within or under control in places where people live very close to each other and there might not be clean water and everything spreads faster? But instead of me looking at it from a place of fear, I will not only look at it from a place of hope – I want to look at it from a place of action and creativity.
How to rise up to opportunities
When I was working at the biggest sustainability Think Tank in the Nordics as a Brand Director, my mission was to create a whole corner in the sustainability movement that we could work from and build more content and ideas into – huge opportunities that we could execute on, on the daily.
I have a couple of key principles when it comes to building movements and rising up as a person and a brand:
Showing the World who you are by DOING instead of TALKING
INCLUDE – Don’t see yourself as separate, and don’t act like others are separate either. You’re united for world dominion, rockers! Yes you need to participate and share stuff for others too. These are like important relationships rockers! – you have to give some to earn some.
PARTICIPATE: There are so many virtual calls for everything out there these days. So many ‘us vs COVID’ digital hackathons and programs. Instead of watching Netflix – become a part of those. Contribute. Share your skills and create magic.
TELL EVERYONE: Pitch your ideas. Not just to potential clients – pitch them to anyone. Are you passionate about technology? Tell everyone. Ideas around sustainability need to be bolder than life. Challenges we want to rise up to, and find possibilities in such as Covid19 can have Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
It’s one of the greatest things about working for a planet that’s fucked up environmentally and healthwise: The sky is the limit when it comes to how bold and audacious the ideas needed can be. The opportunities are there – but the question is: will you rise up and take them?
You know sometimes things don’t turn out the way they used to. I could use some hugs right now and fill that 2nd person in on Snapchat filters. It’s hard to do with a 3-meter distance, rockers. I am totally telling you it’s a challenge. It’s almost undoable.
So I used this article to take a walk down a nostalgic memory lane of mine. Thinking about the tiniest rockin’ things you can do that adds up to (TADA) a brand where you show who you really are… or dare I say.. a ‘cool’ brand? We all want to be a rockband still, right?
So in these times of crisis, illness, and worry around this lovely green planet of ours, I wanted to add some positive fairy sprinkles everywhere that showed that we are still working together for common goals ( or missions and visions of rocking businesses if you would like ) through Unity, sharing, caring and love.
Teamwork makes the dream work
And what is a better way to show who’s behind a Big Hairy Audacious Mission and Vision? Team photos. I love team photos. Some of them are stronger than others, but it personally leaves me feeling nostalgic and brings me back to these feelings I had when I was working hard on achieving these goals together with these people – as a part of a larger group.
It’s an amazing way of creating joy and hope and memories. Right now we are all struggling to get our everyday work-life together. At the same time, managing teenagers who want to be with their friends, but can’t. And pets who are having the time of their life, because everybody is at home hanging out. It must be a pet paradise!
I am totally becoming nostalgic for the free life I lived 2 months ago. But there’s only one way we are getting through this, and that is well… getting through this.
Bringing back unity to what it used to be.
One of the things that makes me really sad is that they canceled all the music festivals in Denmark this summer so no Copenhell or Roskilde Festival for me. However, I get it. And with my crazy-ass lungs and chronic lung decease, I am in this for the longest haul. In fact, I was joking with a friend of mine yesterday who I run my danish gardening Instagram with (if you’re interested) – about that if the world is going to be opening up slowly, then I might be out of isolation in a year or two.
Let’s see how long this is going to take, and let’s have the biggest global sustainable party when it’s over. Then we can also focus on climate change=) But humans in unity are what gives me joy and sparks my creativity: Teams. I know how much effort a hardworking team can do in a short amount of time if the right conditions are set.
A brand tip from yours truly:
When I worked as a brand director of the largest sustainability Think Tank in the Nordics, team photos were the content that got the most attention on social media. We did some pretty crazy ones at the Think Tank. If you want you can check some of them out on the now-deceased Instagram account here.
I want to show you this one – which is one of my personal – favorites:
Team photos are a wonderful way of showing another face to a business. Whether it is a serious team photo, or it’s a bunch of goofballs acting out at a running event. It brings views behind the scenes of a business. And get this- it’s actually showing who are the nuts and bolts inside the engine, working in unity. Who is behind the facade, who is working to make these visions happen. It can be stronger than 10,000 words and normally it doesn’t take a lot to set it up. So my recommendation from here is to get some team photos set up and have fun with them, Show the faces behind the brand (because we all know that people want to deal with other people and not huge monstrous choreographed cyborgs) and show the world who you really are in this uncertain future where we just have to take it day by day – or musings by musings.
I will be trying to write an article a day for the whole of easter. Hope you will enjoy it as much as me. I am writing from my atelier terrace in great weather today. There’s a ton of stuff that needs to happen in my garden riot. We need to paint the atelier, fix the lawn, and the terrace. But, above all, I want these days off to be like a writing retreat for me – getting to the core of my writing on henrietteweber.com.
It’s so weird that during this Corona Virus isolation, it seems like everything is fucked up outside of the garden and in here everything is sunshine, grounding as well as birds chirping away. Occasionally the cat comes to visit on the little porch I have in the front.
Sometimes even though this is my little personal messy empire, I feel like an imposter. I do that as well here on the blog. Are they still around – meaning the cool cats that used to listen? Do they still want to hear what I say?
My imposter syndrome is something I have been carrying around for a long time, since childhood. And no matter how accomplished or how fucked up I look from the outside, it’s there as a part of me. It’s telling me that I am fucking things up and I should not keep pursuing new ventures or new ideas. It doesn’t begin when I start things ( I am a very good starter), but it’s something that sneaks up on me after a while. “What are you doing?”.”Are you going to go out of our comfort zone again babe?”.”That totally isn’t good enough.”. “Who would want to read THAT?”.
And then after a while, the voice gets calmer, especially if I carry on doing what is that I have never tried before. Especially if I put ‘the new project’ into well-known structures and tools that I have already worked on and through several times.
In my opinion, though, the imposter could also be seen as a friend instead of a necessary evil of putting yourself out there and being exposed. It has since childhood been my biggest driver, ‘proving’ it wrong. I am not an imposter, I belong here. My words are important and so are my ideas and my projects. I hope you occasionally feel like that too. Even though I think the whole population on planet earth feels like imposters sometimes.
During my work with CARE, I have recently become aware that when you start using a tone of voice that’s more defining and bolder, as well as adding a visual identity that’s edgier, then something happens externally for sure. But something also happens internally with the office space and your colleagues. At CARE I feel inclined to say that we all are highly skilled geeks within our field, but to have climate and justice geeks unite under a new cool identity and a new cool tone of voice (and soon a new cool website) is a definite surplus. And it’s something that’s so well in line with the UN’s call for making this decade the ‘decade of action’.
How are your colleagues receiving the new initiatives?
ALL my colleagues are happy about it. It’s like that we, by lifting the brand, also lifts my colleagues pride in their work. All these wonderful people, that I pride myself on working with are also working towards a common goal of real impact for the most climate-vulnerable people in the world. Most of the time, they are women and children.
If you have problems figuring out how much you can do in the world, look at the startups. They execute on new ideas all the time. There’s nobody questioning what they usually do in some setting, because ‘what they usually do’ doesn’t exist. Everything is new, everything is trial and error. Everything is ‘fail fast and break things’. And we can all do something. But are we willing to do what we can? Is there an alternative by now? Not really.
Are we willing to do what we can for the decade of action?
Every human, family business, cyborg, corporation, you name it, need to commit to doing what they can for the world. It’s like humanity huddling together and saying ‘a’right, let’s turn this titanic around’.
Every partnership needs to have social good aspects. They need to be aligned with the SDGs – every startup needs to be impactful, otherwise, I throughout don’t believe they will succeed (not if they start now at least).
We all need to do what we can to make this planet heal and well function again. It’s going to take a long time before we get there – but we can all do our share to make this the decade of action something and most of us can do more than others.
It’s hard to live off your creativity especially when creating ideas for an information product. There are so many things that you take into consideration when you take the job as a creator and decide to stick with it. Not only do you have to create but you also have to convince people that you’re one of the best in the market of creating.
For me, it’s about creating products that need to stand out at first glance. But these products also need to leave an experience of ‘great product’, so the good old viral effect and word-of-mouth sets in and the product starts to sell itself.
The key to a great information product is to be very aware of the benefits and maybe not just listing them, but also communicate them extremely well to different kinds of customers.
You shouldn’t only be looking at the product and how it’s built. It’s even more essential to look at the experience and outcome that your potential customers get by purchasing your product.
You need to focus more on how you want your potential customers to feel after they’ve tried your product.
How do you make sure your product is so great that it exceeds expectations?
Start by building an information product roadmap. A product roadmap you define what processes you want your potential customers to go through. Showing initiatives, processes, and how you want your product to launch, communicate, and succeed. There you will also find your way through pitfalls and discussions.
Make the experience of the information product and the outcome for the potential customer top priority.
Most of the time the key is how much value you can put into an information product. That’s all good and well, but in my experience, one of the things that you also need to do is to keep thinking ‘customer experience’ and ‘outcome’. For example, a lot of information products have a Facebook group where everybody who has purchased the product they meet up and connect afterward.
Sometimes you, as an information product owner, ask them if you can keep their email so you can send them new information when something new is coming up in the field.
There’s a lot of tricks to information products, but one of the things that have worked for me is to find products that you can benchmark up against. How do they communicate? What do they promise? What is the outcome and how does the product exceed expectations? Why do people refer to them? Do they have an affiliate program or something similar?
You should indulge sometimes when you continuously build your brand online as well as offline. You should do small investments to support your brand. Things such as custom-designed pencils and pens. Postcards. Envelopes.
These are just some examples of small products that may surprise people.
Such as an old school logoed letter seal (as seen above).
Such as custom made pencils:
Why? I believe, now more than ever, that you need something analog and real to support your (online) business and brand. I believe that everything needs to be anchored in the real world. And luckily there are so many creative products you can choose to anchor.
You can choose to buy envelopes and postcards if you agree with this concept but I consider it a good investment to get a designer to set it up properly for you. That way, your target customers would feel more connected personally, having custom-made products specially designed for your business.
And one could argue if it’s to indulge, to send out postcards in envelopes all the time – just postage wise.
Sending out postcards and envelopes might cost you postage, that is a fact. But we can all agree that it feels more personal to receive something in the mail than to simply receive an e-mail or a quick chat.
What do you like to spend your money on? When it comes to analog items supporting your online business?
In a world full of competitions, one has to stand out in order to be successful. As a female entrepreneur, I’ve met some struggling women along my path. Every time, I get this motherly urge to tell them that everything is going to be alright. There are real struggles such as making ends meet and being an attractive asset to other businesses and entrepreneurs.
My experience is that most of them need something extra. Something that can diversify them and make them stand out. Here are some of the questions I ask myself over and over again to keep my brand and my business going.
4 Things To Ask Yourself On How To Stand Out
1. What do you want to be known for?
You need to find out what’s important to you, as a person. If you’re an entrepreneur, there is a reason why you became one. Speak your truth. Focus on what’s important for you and maybe not very urgent. Most of the time, what’s important tends to be way bigger than what’s urgent.
2. Can you have a strategic approach to yourself?
One challenge in a personal brand building is having a strategic focus not just to your brand, but to you as a person. It includes the choices you make in your business and around your brand. You get that by questioning the things you do to achieve the things you want. You get that by aligning yourself and your goals with whatever your heart desires.
3. What do you do?
Get specific here because it’s where you get to find out how you spend your time. I sometimes struggle with writing because there’s a huge amount of friendly gossip on social media that I want to read. I think I could use my whole workdays being on social media if I don’t watch out. There’s a bunch of apps out there that will make you realize how you use your time. I use a free Firefox extension called ‘Leechblock’ where I can block different websites for periods of time in the browser (which is where most of my procrastination happens).
4. Why do you do what you do?
Have you sometimes asked yourself this? Why is it that you initially wanted to build a successful business blog but you ended up writing newsletters instead?
I am one of those types who tend to spread myself too thin on doing too many things at once. And I am proud to say I am becoming a master of finishing things before I start new ones.
Do you have a personal brand strategy? If not, get going because you need to think strategically about your personal brand. Here are some tips of mine to start off:
Base your brand on who you are now, and not only what you want to be.
You have to start somewhere. One thing that defines us in the business world is our titles, which to a lot of people means what you have achieved. If you don’t know who you are right now – ask around. List 20 people who’s degree of knowledge around you are different from one another and ask them how they see you and why. Then take action from there and create your brand day by day, word by word, shout by shout and message by message.
What can’t you shut up about?
When I started out there was one thing I knew for sure around my brand. I could keep talking and come with ideas around entrepreneurship and people starting to think the action in as a part of their business – and how to use social media to amplify it a gazillion times.
Focus on the taglines
Even though logos are important, taglines are even more so, these days. You can keep mentioning them in a different context and create more content around them daily. You can even print them on t-shirts if that’s your thing.
Important IS urgent
Stephen Covey wrote in his book seven principles of highly successful people (one of my favorites) that you have to focus on the things that are ‘important-not-urgent’. When it comes to personal brand strategy, important IS urgent. You need to focus your brand on the larger pieces of content and concepts and what you want to be known for.
Don’t be that super proactive person (only) on social media
I see a lot of this these days. People are snapping, tweeting, and IG’ing and updating social media all the time, but there’s no catches or hangers for people to find out more. One of the things that people mostly say about me is that they found me on social media, but what really caught them and made them sign up was my content on my website – how I wrote. How helpful I chose to be. What I initiated. You can dilute a brand by not thinking it from one end to the other.
What makes brands vulnerable? The answer is not having gone through the process of developing taglines. Their inability to pave out in cement what they stand for. A huge part of working with your brand is to get these things developed.
Your brand lives inside people’s heads and it might mean so much more to them than you imagine.
Your taglines can help direct the brand. You have some control of what you stand for, being inside of people’s heads and all. r. It’s a way for people to get to know you better, and it’s a way for your brand not to be indifferent or simply not stand out from the competitors because you’re too ‘vanilla.’
What are the great taglines?
Great taglines are sentences that add a sudden kind of ‘oompf’ to a brand. It’s what differentiates. Depending on what industry you’re in, it could be world-revolutionary. They could also be an off-spin of ‘having the customer in focus’ (which a lot of companies use as a tagline, but it’s a given in the contemporary business world). It depends on your industry and how you want to position yourself. I would love to have a business world where more people spoke in taglines. It’s short, sweet, and it makes a whole lot of difference in your personal business world.
Here are some examples of company taglines that might help you come up with an idea of your own.