Focus on what you care about

Focus on what you care about

Sometimes a quote comes along that really jumps out at you. I noticed this quote recently and it resonated with me, and after sharing it with colleagues, it resonated with them too.  I think it’s because I, like most people, have a tendency to allow distractions to creep in. I know it’s also because it’s time to look at how I’m spending my time and to tune in with what I care about. 

Slipping into auto-pilot – is a real danger, getting the work done, picking up work that comes along. At this time of year, it’s a great time to take a quick check on where your time is being focused. 

I enjoy working with ‘passionate professionals’, – I’m inspired by the level of commitment and enthusiasm they maintain. It’s clear to see that they care deeply about the work they do. They care about the level of service, the quality of their workmanship or the people they serve. They care about the impact of their actions and they care about the world around them. And the results show in their business and the success of their brand. Their business is about more than making money – it’s about changing and improving lives. 

But distraction can be a common enemy to us all.

The most successful people – with the most successful brands, are motivated by something that drives them – something greater than paying the bills. And they don’t allow distractions to take them off track. They focus on what they care about.

It doesn’t make sense to spend your time on things you don’t care about. 

That doesn’t mean you avoid everything you don’t want to do …  

It just means you make sure you focus mainly on the actions that are meaningful, purposeful and enjoyable!

Sure, there are plenty of actions that need to be done that you may not enjoy very much. That doesn’t mean you don’t care about them! In fact you’ll enjoy them more when you have a positive reason for doing them and have clarity around how they will benefit you and your business.

Building a brand takes time, energy and focus and that time should be enjoyable and purposeful. Staying mindful and allowing time to reflect and ask the important questions gives us the clarity we need to make the right decisions. And it means we are more likely to stay focused on the things that matter most. 

Take a few minutes to reflect on your business – where your time is being spent? 

  • Are you clear on your brand – why you do what you do?
  • What do you care about? Do your daily actions reflect that?
  • Do you spend your time on things that matter to you? 
  • Where are you being distracted in your business? What are you doing that doesn’t serve you or your business any more?
  • What can you change that will bring your actions more in line with your values?

Email us here – we’d love to hear from you!

If you’re experiencing growth or change, or feel your brand could use some fresh inspiration, check out this article on rebranding  – 8 reasons why it might be time to rebrand

Please share this article with anyone who you think could benefit.

 

 

 

 

Why you should build a brand, not just run a business.

Why you should build a brand, not just run a business.

Finding time to work on your own brand is hard I know.

Here are some reasons why you might not be working on your brand.

  • It’s important but not ‘urgent’. A nice to have not a must-have. You’re not ready … yet – it can wait.
  • You’re too busy working on your clients’ work – that’s what you do and that’s more important.
  • You feel like it’s a luxury or an indulgence to put your clients work down and do something for your own brand.
  • Your brand is OK, it can wait.
The thing is, if you don’t ever find the time to work on your own website, brand, or whatever it might be, or keep squeezing it in and doing it in a haphazard fashion,
you’ve really only at best, got yourself a business and at worst – bought yourself a job. 

Over the last 12 months, I’ve been struggling to complete my website. Squeezing it in has been so difficult and my thoughts have been mostly with my clients, but I realised more and more, that if I don’t make time to work ON my business – I’ll be less likely to have a business at all. I think it’s one of the most common complaints I hear from my clients and colleagues is a lack of time to focus on their own branding and marketing. That’s why I wanted to talk about it here.

I have brilliant designer friends who do AMAZING work, one has no website or the other has an old website – too busy doing amazing work to spend time working on their own portfolio!  I have associates whose brand really doesn’t reflect them – and they know this – and they know that if they had a brand and a website that more reflects them better, and more clearly depicts what they do – it would help them raise their prices to achieve what they’re really worth. I know so many business owners that are just full up doing what they do – creating, teaching, coaching – changing people’s lives – that they just let their own marketing and branding slip by the wayside until they can get around to it.

  • They’d rather be doing ‘what they do’ than marketing on their own stuff.
  • They’re also avoiding it because they’re not too sure where to start.
  • And mostly they just don’t have time to think about it right now. Maybe next week, or next month.

I get it, I honestly prefer working on my clients’ work rather than marketing my own. The trouble is, without focusing on your own branding, you’re really only as good as your last job, or last project. You’re not building equity and you’re missing out on a whole lot of opportunities.

So how do you put your own work in the to-do list and actually get it done without feeling guilty that you should be working on your clients’ work, or just being too darn tired to find the time?

How do you shift your thinking from running your business to building your brand?
The answer is to learn how to build your brand while running your business – integrate it into your weekly pattern of activities, because building your brand is part of building your business.

How does BUILDING YOUR BRAND differ from
RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?

I think we all want to know we are building something for the future. If you’re always living from client to client – hand to mouth, you’re not actually building on the work and developing a brand that can one day support you.

There comes a time when you’d like to sit back and reap the rewards from all the hard work you’ve done from your face to face with clients and constantly delivering quality results for them. 

If you can carve out the time now to build your brand, the rewards will pay off in the future.

Running a Business looks like this…

  • Full days just keeping your clients happy, no time to even think about your own branding or marketing.
  • Squeezing in new business development, with a haphazard approach to marketing and sales, hustling to get your next contract. Living off word of mouth and hoping that the next client will come along at the right time.
  • Days of endless doing, struggling through the day to day task of keeping up. Living off a to-do list and being relieved when you’ve just got through it – but never really feeling like you’re ahead of it.
  • Keeping people happy. Accepting what comes along because you don’t have the time to think and forward plan to select the kind of clients you’d like to work with.

Building a brand looks like this …

With a bit of time and focus on developing a brand that speaks to your clients,  you could instead have yourself, and your business in this position…

  • Developing a pipeline and flow of leads that are attracted to your brand, not just to you.
  • Crafting your future. Enjoying your work knowing you’re building something for the future that will keep you engaged, inspired and making a contribution. Taking the time to rest and step back to assess how your business is supporting you and where it’s taking you.
  • Making the time to plan and foresee the kind of work you’d like and sending out the right kind of messages to attract them. Allowing for flow days where you are crafting, shaping and growing your own brand.
  • Enjoying your work more as you allow time to let fresh ideas flow for your own business as well as your clients.
Your brand will work for you when you put the time into working on it.

5 Simple Tips to give yourself some space to build your own brand.

  1. Put yourself in the ‘WIP’ list as you would a client. Treat yourself like a client and put yourself first!
  2. Value yourself and your brand as much as you do your clients. 
  3. Think about the future, what a strong brand will mean for you, your family, your lifestyle.
  4. Don’t push things ahead on your to-do list more than twice that relate to your own brand or marketing.
  5. Make it enjoyable, rewarding and fun. Make space and feel good about building your future!
We’re offering a free Strategy Session to kick start the process

If you’d like some honest and impartial advice on your brand email us here

It’s time to re-think the way we do business

It’s time to re-think the way we do business

Part of what we do here at ECD is to help business owners RE-THINK their business approach and never has it been so important to consider re-thinking the way you do business right now. As we navigate our way through one of the most challenging times in history, we are being FORCED into doing things differently, and do them QUICKLY, neither of which a lot of us are particularly fond of, or good at. To do things differently, you need to THINK differently – and for some, this comes more easily than others.

WE ARE BEING CHALLENGED …To think quickly and act boldly.
WE ARE BEING ASKED TO THINK … in a way we’ve never been taught how to
WE ARE BEING FORCED to change the way we act
and that means we have to SHIFT the way we work.

What used to happen in a MONTH, can quite easily happen in a DAY – and now change is upon us almost HOURLY! We can help you NAVIGATE THE CHANGE that is upon us

If you’re ahead of the game (or up to speed with technology) you’ve probably already set up your lines of digital communication, are ready to work remotely and possibly even planning your digital marketing strategy to keep your business going. Still, many are not – and that’s not surprising, it can be a scary world out there in the digital space if you’re used to working a more traditional environment.

Here’s what we’ve been told to do … Or need to do.
  • WORK REMOTELY. STAY HOME!
    A lot of us have been told to stay at home. Of course over the past few years there’s been a big shift to working from home – many people are already successfully leading a lifestyle living and working from anywhere. Now there’s a real need for it, but for some, it may not be a walk in the park. Do you know how to set up your business to work from home?
  • LESS CONTACT, CHANGE THE WAY WE COMMUNICATE
    From large corporations to individual business operators, we’ve all been asked to begin ‘social distancing’. So with less and less time in collective groups, we need to re-think how we COMMUNICATE with each other. We all need to stay in touch one way or another, what’s your plan?
  • KEEP OUR BUSINESS AFLOAT
    Of course, we’re in business to make money, and with a massive flow-on effect happening, no-one is immune from the financial fallout heading our way. With so many unpredictable changes being thrown upon us, how do you navigate the changes and make the right decisions? What’s your strategy to market yourself, your business – make money?
We’ve got a few solutions that can help right now
LEARN HOW TO HARNESS THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY

Digital technology is here to stay, but in times of crisis, it has proven to be essential. We can help you explore your options to improve your technology to overcome all three challenges – working remotely, digital marketing and communicating effectively.

THINK OUTSIDE IN

The plans we had may not be quite as relevant in the next few months, so it’s super important to stay on top of what your customers need RIGHT NOW. We can help you find those opportunities that might not be immediately apparent to you by exploring new avenues for your business.

LEARN TO THINK QUICKLY AND CREATIVELY

Changing the way we think, means thinking outside the square and taking problems head-on. We’ll help you shake up your creative brainpower and tackle your challenges with innovative solutions and strategic thinking.

BOOST YOUR RESILIENCE

And of course, building up some resilience is always useful, so making sure you’re set up to manage the ups and downs, both personally and professionally. Everyone could use a bit of a boost right now.

It’s only natural to be worried about the unknown days and weeks and months ahead, and it can be hard trying to figure out our next best steps alone.

That’s why we’re offering a free Strategy Session to help you figure it out!

If you would like to engage in a free Strategy Session email us here

5 ways to approach marketing your brand now

5 ways to approach marketing your brand now

Many people I speak to have been sitting politely on the sidelines, feeling uncomfortable about joining in trying to be respectful by not marketing or make a lot of noise in this time. But in reality, now is the time when your customers need you most. 

Businesses are here to help, or at least they should be. I have been very grateful for the businesses that have kept going right now – and I want to know that businesses and brands are going to survive this time and keep going so I can continue to enjoy their products and services. So marketing is NOT bad right now, it’s needed, and it’s okay – if it’s done mindfully.

Five ways to approach marketing your brand right now

  1. Listen and show you are there.

Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty around the future; you can start by letting people know you’re there, in whatever capacity you are there. Even if you’re not working in the same way, or to the same level, just by communicating your status and sharing your situation you give comfort and a level of safety and knowledge to your customers. I’d encourage you right now to think about your core customers and remind yourself what valuable service or products you are offering and how much they need you right now.

  1. Stay in touch.

No matter how small your ‘LIST’ is, it’s a great time to talk to them – open up the lines of communication and let them know you’re there and that you’re listening to their needs. It’s a great time to strengthen bonds and build loyalty, even by offering small acts of support and kindness. We’re all people doing business with people – and right now we need people who care.

  1. Be open

One thing I am enjoying is seeing the true nature of brands and the people carrying on their work at home and doing it naturally and authentically. I’ve seen previous Coles ads and never felt any connection, but when I see Curtis Stone in his own kitchen with a slightly dodgy camera and lighting – I feel much more connected and appreciate and enjoy watching him cook a nice meal. Bottom line – I feel better about Coles!

  1. Be real

I enjoy seeing top politicians, professors, actors, artists and businesspeople share their knowledge and skills from their lounge room on their sofa or sitting at their kitchen table – giving us a peek into their lives. We see the reality of who they are without the polish and often pretence that can creep into our delivery, and this is true too for brands. We see that we are all human, that we are all here to the best we can and appreciate that no-one or nothing is perfect.

  1. You don’t have to be perfect.

Sometimes we let that fear of being perfect or polished prevent us from putting messages and communication into the world when, in reality, it’s exactly what people want. Now is the ideal time to share your story, deliver your gifts and offer your services. People want them. People need them. And now it’s perfectly acceptable to have a less than perfect delivery! An authentic brand, just like a trustworthy person, is judged on who you are when no-one is looking. As an authentic brand with nothing to hide, now is the time to open up and share that genuine authenticity to the world as best you can so people can connect with you more.

If you’d like to learn or find out anything specific about how you can continue to strengthen and build your brand – even through a crisis – please contact us, we’d be delighted to have a conversation with you or answer any questions. We’re here to help you keep your brand healthy.

Many people I speak to have been sitting politely on the sidelines, feeling uncomfortable about joining in trying to be respectful by not marketing or make a lot of noise in this time. But in reality, now is the time when your customers need you most.

Businesses are here to help, or at least they should be. I have been hugely grateful for the businesses that have kept going right now – and I want to know that businesses and brands are going to survive this time and keep going so I can continue to enjoy their products and services. So marketing is NOT bad right now, it’s needed, and it’s good – if it’s done mindfully.

5 ways to approach marketing your brand right now

1. Listen and show you are there.

Right now there is a lot of uncertainty around the future, you can start by letting people know you’re there, in whatever capacity you are there. Even if you’re not working in the same way, or to the same level, just by communicating your status and sharing your situation you give comfort and a level of safety and knowledge to your customers. I’d encourage you right now to think about your core customers and remind yourself what valuable service or products you are offering and how much they need you right now.

2. Stay in touch.

No matter how small your ‘LIST’ is, it’s a great time to talk to them – open up the lines of communication and let them know you’re there and that you’re listening to their needs. It’s a great time to strengthen bonds and build loyalty, even by offering small acts of support and kindness. We’re all people doing business with people – and right now we need people who care.

3. Be open

One thing I am enjoying is seeing the true nature of brands and the people carrying on their work at home and doing it naturally and authentically. I’ve seen previous Coles ads and never felt any connection, but when I see Curtis Stone in his own kitchen with a slightly dodgy camera and lighting – I feel much more connected and appreciate and enjoy watching him cook a nice meal. Bottom line – I feel better about Coles!

4. Be real

I enjoy seeing top politicians, professors, actors, artists and businesspeople share their knowledge and skills from their lounge room on their sofa or sitting at their kitchen table – giving us a peek into their lives. We see the reality of who they are without the polish and often pretence that can creep into our delivery and this is true too for brands. We see that we are all human, that we are all here to the best we can and appreciate that no-one or nothing is perfect.

5. You don’t have to be perfect

Sometimes we let that fear of being perfect or polished prevent us from putting messages and communication into the world when in reality, it’s exactly what people want. Now is the perfect time to share your story, deliver your gifts and offer your services. People want them. People need them. And now it’s perfectly acceptable to have a less than perfect delivery! An authentic brand, just like an authentic person, is judged on who you are when no-one is looking. As an authentic brand with nothing to hide, now is the time to open up and share that true authenticity to the world as best you can so people can connect with you more.

If you’d like to learn or find out anything specific about how you can continue to strengthen and build your brand – even through a crisis – please contact us, we’d be delighted to have a conversation with you or answer any questions. We’re here to help you keep your brand strong.

If you would like to engage in a free Strategy Session email us here

Why do authentic brands work?

Why do authentic brands work?

In my role as a brand consultant and creator, I take particular care and pride in developing authentic brands that are authentic and real. We go to great depths to get to know our clients, their work and offering so we can create a brand that truly aligns with them.

What do I mean by an authentic brand? – read more here… 

I love to see a client connecting with their new brand and enjoying the success that comes with it. They feel proud to share it. They enjoy getting it out there and even sales and marketing become more enjoyable – who would have thought!!!

If your brand is NOT telling the story of who you are and what you do, you’re losing an opportunity for attracting and retaining more of the RIGHT type of clients and customers to your business SO you’re probably not enjoying the process of trying to get people to understand who you are and what you do. It’s a frustrating feeling when you know your products or services are so much better than your brand portrays.

A few things to remember about how an authentic brand works

Authentic brands deliver a true reflection of who you are and what you do which means what your customer’s experience is true, consistent and real.

An authentic brand will…

… Reflect your true value and attract the right type of people – those that will happily pay what its worth. Whether you’re selling products worth $5 or $50,000, having a brand that reflects their true value is paramount.

… speak in your voice, deliver your real personality and begin a conversation with the people that need you.

… give your customers immediate clarity on what the brand stands for, what the product or service is and whether it’s for them.

… make a stronger connection with your clients by delivering a bigger vision, your values, your story.

… build stronger trust by delivering what you say you will. When you get what you expect, you’re more likely to buy again.

… make your job of marketing and sales easier and more enjoyable. At the heart of any good marketing is a good brand!

… help you feel more confident in what and how you’re selling your products or service because it feels right and true and accurate.

… enable you to be yourself every day and do what comes naturally to you – you’re not pretending to be something you’re not.

… help you focus on what you’re good at in your business and allow the brand to speak for itself.

… remove that embarrassing feeling you might get when you have to share a website that just doesn’t look or feel right.

Building authentic brands requires honesty and clarity – and like any good brand – time. Start by asking your trusted colleagues what words come to mind when they look at your brand – and see if they align with the kind of words you’d be proud of. If you’d like some honest and impartial advice on your brand email us here

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