Speak up… for your own sake!

When I was a kid (and in a move in today’s world, would have prompted a call to the child welfare agency), I had my mouth taped shut by an adult cousin of mine. Now, before you get all bent out of shape about the horrible nature of this act, I will tell you this – I asked a lot – A LOT of questions. I also was expected to answer when a question was asked of me and for that answer to be thoughtful, mature and sensible in the realm of day-to-day life. Saying “I don’t know” or “I never learned that”, you would be met with a “Well you better learn quick!”. Ivy League Colleges were not in my parents’ cards but that didn’t mean that we didn’t read everything, watch the news and all the news magazine shows like 60 minutes, and have excited conversations about current events and the history behind all. I always felt that it pushed me to learn, forced me to think and allowed me to question to get to the root of any issue.

Fast forward to my teaching days. In my twenties, I never stopped asking but the “Why” questions were not always met with the same enthusiasm. Principals who told me to “Not ask – just do” were part of my frustration with our education system. I listened to rules, followed guidelines, and gave cautious input occasionally. In the Faculty Rooms, it was a bit different – complaining, questioning, arguing and having in-depth conversations were always the norm. When evaluated by said Principals, my teaching methods were fine, interaction with my students was great but I was always reminded that I shouldn’t question authority, I should just do.

Well you know, that didn’t sit well!

To this day, I am happily, proudly and unabashedly proud of the fact that I still get in trouble for questioning, asking, comparing and being persistent.

Damn proud!

And although it has made for some really sticky situations both professionally and personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It has given me the ability to question to seek the validity in the “other side’s” argument; it has given me the ability to understand people at a different level. It has allowed me to see the value of connection. The connections you make with who you are, what you do, who you do it for – whatever that IT is – that is what is important.

Bringing this full circle back in to the business world, you have connections to the people who are your customers, your staff, your vendors; you have connections to the products and/or the services you have learned, made your own and provide for your clients; you have a connection to your brand. Marketing with a truthful connection to the brand you represent and the character that you are makes for a winning combination.

I have watched companies refuse to work with a marketing specialist, branding strategist, public relations firm or even an advertising agency. “Never did it before. not gonna do it now!” is a thinking that is as archaic as the dinosaurs (and we all know what happened in that story). Times have changed across the board, competition has become more fierce and companies, large and small need to have a strategy in place to get their message out to a larger audience.

As we enter a new year, let 2021 be the year that you get all your ducks in a row – make a marketing plan one of, if not the main focus of the first month of the year. Make a true strategic, content based plan in line with your company’s mission and vision. So many companies let their twenty-something somebody or other with no experience, post to Facebook or Instagram with no calendar, strategy, plan or analytic review behind it. It’s like going on a treasure hunt without a map. No offense to the young social media posters out there, nor do I look to offend younger marketing companies – if there is truly a plan, all well and good. But even the best laid plan must have structure, responsibility and accountability as its foundation.

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Work with a marketing professional to build your brand, increase your visibility and become more profitable by getting your message, product or service out to a larger audience.

As a Business Coach, Jane helps women powerfully transform their businesses (as entrepreneurs, coaches, and speakers) by recognizing their value, defining ideal clients & their signature offers, creating a more profitable business through authentic marketing and efficient operations. Together we make your bottom line the high point of your business!  Jane is the NY Global Business Connector for Women Speakers Association, connecting women with resources to help them in their role as a “Message Maker” – clarifying their message or brand, increasing their visibility, and growing their audience. Click here to join her Facebook Group, Phenomenal Message Makers, for tips, videos, programs and downloads to help you promote your message. You can read more of Jane’s writings at BrainzMagazine.com, in her upcoming collaborative book, Voices of the 21st Century: Resilient Women Who Rise, or at janeparmel.com for more information.