Personal Brand Marketing – Brand Buzz 101

I understand the importance of visibility. As a small business owner, being "known" can be the difference between a steady flow of revenue or closing your doors. Yet, being visible is not enough. Being remembered is most important and means you occupy some prime real estate in the mind of someone. Garnering "share of mind" means that you somewhere along the way that they sampled your character and competency and you became memorable.

Marketing, by definition, is creating an exchange environment. For an individual, that could mean breaking a referral, speaking positively on your behalf, a promotion or an introduction. Branding, by definition, is an emotion or image tied to a product. YOU are the product. Even in businesses, people are the brand and define the company, more than any mission mission statement hanging in the lobby. So, how does an individual create "buzz" for their brand for visibility and more importantly to be remembered so that they can develop credibility?

1. Know what makes you unique.

Whether you're job hunting or wanting a position on board of director's, you need to confidently know what value you bring to the table.

2. Get really good at communicating what makes you valuable.

Ninety-three percent of communication is tone and body language. Spend time on the words so that what you say and how you communicate are congruent with your value. Yet, know that communication includes your image, the way you present yourself, your workspace, your phone skills and even your lunch meeting etiquette. They must all be congruent with what makes you valuable. Any discrepancies will jeopardize your credibility and could produce negative word of mouth which is a problem that I will address in future articles.

3. Manage that communication.

If you're creating "buzz" around your brand, it will require you to proactively manage the communication. For example, if you're new to a company or a position you will need to build a credibility wall. Yes, a physical wall if possible. It showcases every plaque, certificate, service honor, licensing, certification and degree you've received. This wall is your visual third party testimonial on the character and competency of your brand. Since that wall can not travel with you, make sure that anytime you're honored for volunteer service or recognized for a contribution that a copy of the "thank you" letter, note or card be placed into you personnel file.

Even if you're on your own, these "proof of credibility" tools will take you far. As the vice president of a business concern in college, I invited speakers to speak to our fraternity for professional development. I asked each of them to write a letter for me about their experience working with me so that I could include that in my personal portfolio. Many of these speakers went on to become regional directors, chief operation officers, chief financial officers, company presidents and further that my portfolio has become quite valuable. Actively "buzz" your brand! Doing that will develop credibility; credibility will lead to influence; and influence with lead to leadership.

Overseas Manufacturing and Clearing Goods Through Customs

When importing into a country, there are a number of terms, regulations and procedures an importer should be familiar with. The following is a guide of different issues to be aware of when importing.

For first time importers, it is highly advisable to pay a customs broker to enter and clear goods through customs. Customs brokers are licensed by the countries in which they operate, and they act on behalf of the importer to file the necessary documents for products to enter a country at the port-of-entry. Depending on their relationship with their client, they may also pay customs duties and other importing expenses on their client's behalf. Finally, they advise importers about issues of which they may need to be aware such as country or origin marks and other issues importers need to be aware of.

When choosing a customs broker, the importer should first make sure they can enter goods at the arrival port. In the US, customs brokers are licensed by the US Customs and Border Protection Service.

Prior to placing an order with a manufacturer, the relevant nation's customs agency and the importer's customs broker should be consulted to avoid possible problems such as the following:

  • Any legal issues that may exist with the product in the country of import.
  • Finding out after the product arrives at port that the it is subject to import quotas.
  • Possible health, safety or other regulations which apply to the product to be imported.

One easy to avoid, but common problem encountered when importing is the failure to mark the product in compliance with country of origin regulations. To avoid this, contact the relevant customs agency of the nation where the merchandise will be imported to ensure the goods are in compliance. For example, custom laws in the US require each imported good be marked with the English name of the country of origin (eg China) as reasonably, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article permits. Furthermore, this marking must be visible to the ultimate purchaser of the product.

The tariff rate levied by customs must be paid before the importer can take possession of the goods. While tariff rates in countries like the US average around 5% for most products, they can be significantly higher for some goods, particularly those with higher labor content. Therefore, it is important to know the rate before product arrives at port.

Before the goods are shipped, ensure the packing regulations for the destination country have been adhered. For example, every box, bale or case may need to be numbered with the exact quantity in each.

Other regulations include the type of pallets that can be used.

Problems with customs clearance often center around paperwork. Different goods often require different types of documentation, but the three major types of documentation the shipper must prepare include the following:

1. A bill of lading: This document, issued by the carrier or shipper, is basically a receipt of the goods acknowledging that they have been received on the vessel for shipment. This document indicates the particular vessel on which the goods have been placed, the destination of the goods, and the terms for transporting the goods to their final destination.

2. A commercial invoice: This is used as a customs declaration by the entity that is exporting an item across international borders. This document is required by customs to determine the value of the goods to assess duties and taxes, and goods must be invoiced in a systematic manner.

3. Packing list: This document is an itemized detail of the merchandise in a particular shipment. A copy is usually attached to the outside of the shipping container or inside the container itself so the merchandise may be counted by the person opening it.

It is crucial to make sure these documents, and any others that may be needed for a particular shipment, are carefully completed and reviewed before the goods arrive.

To avoid excess storage fees, arrange for a freight forwarder or some other type of transporter to ship the goods to their final destination as soon as they have cleared customs.

Being aware of these points, as well working closely with customs and a customs broker, will make the importing process smoother and will reduce the possibility of unnecessary difficulty or expense.

What Are the Graphic Design Career Options?

Graphic designers have a wealth of new opportunities opening up in the workplace. The importance of web usage in business today has put virtually every operating concern in need of some sort of employee or consultant who can assemble a good graphics and / or multimedia driven web page.

Career oriented graphics designers today need a bachelor's degree. It is required for most entry level jobs. Graphic designers bring creativity and imagination to their work, but they must also bring a mastery of the tools, and those tools include sophisticated software programs and computer techniques as well as paper and drawing utensils. Computers are use to generate images, animation and multimedia presentations. It takes a lot of study to master the programs in use today and to keep up with the constant changes in graphic design technology.

There are several major business functions that require the services – and sometimes the leadership – of a graphics designer. In general, the use of graphics and multimedia is only expanding as more communications options are brought into the marketplace, such as the social networks and now the rapidly improving platforms for mobile devices.

Graphics design is at the heart of every advertising agency's products. It is one of the principal job sources for graphics professionals. Sometimes a graphics designer comes up with a design for an ad, but often the designer is also responsible for color, animation if needed, sound, shading and other effects. For ad campaigns, an account manager may want storyboards for presentation of an ad campaign's conceptualization and it is the graphic designer's job to prepare those, either on paper or as a digital slide show.

Graphic designers are also the anchor talent in many web development and design businesses . It is in this environment that the importance of understanding computer software for multimedia use becomes crucial. Web sites have become critical to all types of businesses, from small retailers to major corporations. Web presentations may include sketches and well lit photographs, or elaborate video presentations, or anything in between.

The video game business uses graphic artists and multimedia professionals in game development. In these environments, a graphic designer may work with a computer programmer on an animation scene and focus on such issues as shading, character movement and simulated lighting in the scene.

Over twenty five percent of all graphic designers are self employed . People who contract out their services may work for advocates who need graphic presentations, for publishing houses, for real estate firms, for fashion designers, for architectural forms or for sign companies . These are a few examples of businesses that occasionally need the services of a graphics designer. Many professionals become specialists in one business sector or another; and build a clientele based on recommendations.

Food and Tea in China

Chinese food is a very popular type of food among American's and has become a favorite to many. With this in mind, many people consider going to China to experience the food directly from China. The food alone in China makes China a top travel destination. However, it is to be of no surprise that the Chinese food in China is very different from the Americanized Chinese food available within the United States.

The quality of rice available in China is much different than anywhere else across the globe. China has an abundance of rice fields, making rice readily available within the country. Rice is one of the main dishes in any Chinese meal.

There are several different locations in China to visit for various dishes you might like to try. Beijing is well-known for their Peking duck. However, Shanghai is famous for their pork buns. It is all dependent on what it is you are looking for as to what area of ​​China you would be pleased the most within your travels abroad to China.

However, some food customs in China are very different than anywhere an American traveler would be used to. In most parts of China, soups are served after the meal. However, the Cantonese do serve soup before the meal.

Aside from the Chinese food us Americans have grown to love China for, China is also famous for their tea. They are most famous for their jasmine and green tea. So, while in China, do not pass up the opportunity to taste their tea.