The Power Pose

Episode 42: The Power Pose

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It’s been a great first year of the Women Rocking Wall Street, and I’ve had the pleasure of following up with Tracy Bagli Hooper, who was my very first guest when I first launched WRW. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to episode two, Confidence is Contagious, Tracy is the creator of The Confidence Project, an organization dedicated to helping others build confidence in their lives. As she likes to say, “the Confidence Project is an equal opportunity endeavor.” According to Tracy, confidence may have a genetic component, and even though some people may have a slight genetic advantage, it’s possible to build confidence through training our brain for a confidence mindset.

Have you ever heard of the Power Pose? It’s a technique for building confidence for a meeting, interview or any event where you want to build and demonstrate your best self.  It changes the hormones in your brain and help you reduce Cortisol and increase Testosterone.  It’ll not only affect how you feel but how others feel about you. Studies indicated the people who were perceived as smarter and more competent are the ones who do the Power Pose.  It’s free, takes 2 minutes a day! Watch the TED Talk with Amy Cuddy here.

Tracy sees a great value in momentum and is sharing her services to as wide a range of people as possible.  She learned that narrowing focus too quickly can adversely affect momentum. There is certainly value in developing a niche and a focus, but be careful not to niche down too quickly. She also reminds us to be aware of the skills and talents we possess; we might be fluent in areas that others find completely baffling. The knowledge we take for granted might be the crucial knowledge that others need, and this gives us the opportunity to help others move forward too.  Remember: What we know, others might not know.

There are some great books for growth and development that Tracy recommends, including: “The Confidence Code” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman; “The Defining Decade” by Meg Jay; “Key Person of Influence” by Daniel Priestly; and “Playing Big” by Tara Moore. If you’d like to get in touch with Tracy and learn more about The Confidence Project, visit her site at confidenceproject.com, or visit her on Facebook or send her a quick email.

If you liked this episode, be sure to share it with others and head over to iTunes and write a review. Also, thanks for listening!

Create a Magnetic Brand, Build Margin

Several years ago, I attended my second National Speakers Association Annual Conference. My objective for attending was to rub shoulders with successful speakers and take away a handful of ideas to jump-start my speaking practice. Hence the first evening, I stopped at the lobby bar for a beverage and a bit of mingling.

While enjoying my Grey Goose and soda – with three limes – I met Chris Mercer, CEO of Mercer Capital. Chris is one of the leading business valuation experts in the country and author of a plethora of books for business owners. Being a 401k nerd, I questioned him about Employee Stock Ownership Plans and the challenge he sees in valuing firms. (Seriously?! Who would discuss ESOPs over cocktails? Obviously, a geek like me.)

I very much wanted an expert opinion on a theory that I’ve long held: An organization that builds and executes an effective brand brings additional margin to the bottom line. Of course, I already knew the answer, “Yes.” But Chris said, “No.” So, I bought him another drink.

Let’s back up and lay some groundwork. You’ve likely seen marketers and brand experts trot out Starbucks, Apple, Coca Cola, or Target as examples of well executed brands. And, many large multi-national organizations do track their specific brand equity. In fact, the firm Interbrand tracks brand values and the associated changes in brand value from year to year. As an example Coca-Cola retained the No. 3 position on Interbrand’s esteemed annual ranking of most valuable global brands for the second consecutive year. Coke’s 2014 brand value is estimated at $81.6 billion, up 3 percent from 2013, more than four times that of the nearest beverage brand on the list.

Many advisors and small business owners don’t have the necessary capital and staffing to compete on a global level and therefore likely have zero brand equity to discuss during the sales process. Hence, Chris’ answer.

However, after some additional discussion, we came upon the answer I did want to hear: “Yes, in a way, a powerful brand can bring more margin to the bottom line.” Because a well branded organization increases the perceived value of their services. I’m going to say that again: an effective brand and well-executed brand can help increase the perceived value of services. (Thereby eventually bringing greater margin to the bottom line.)

Unfortunately, many local and regional advisors neglect their brand. They see their brand as simply a logo slapped on a business card, brochure and website. Your brand encompasses the full experience your prospects and clients have with you and your firm; from how you answer the phone to the quality of your business card and everything in between.

Your brand can be an intentional piece of your business development effort. As an example, we recently redesigned the ShoeFitts website. It was the third iteration in as many years as we have been in business. The ShoeFitts Creative Crew expanded the use of the pimento red color specifically to imply sophistication and power. Now we are evaluating our client onboarding and welcome process because first impressions last forever. In fact, we have an ongoing audit of our brand and client experience. As you move into the New Year, consider an audit of your visual and experiential brand; here’s a starting point: Brand Touchpoint Audit.