Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Three Things You Must Do to Build an Authentic Brand

Who are you behind the glossy business cards and neatly arranged website? What does your business stand for?
In a world of super-brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Geico you may be doubting your ability to stand out among the fray.
Nelson Jackson says it best: “I do not believe you can do today's job with yesterday's methods and be in business tomorrow.” In this world of social media and social sharing your task of branding your business takes on a whole new dimension. How do you survive?
Building your professional brand hinges on your ability to do the following 3 things well…
1. Find Your Passion - Ask yourself a very important question: Am I doing what I was born to do? Am I passionate about my work? If you have decided that you are born for something, you have a responsibility to honor that gift and validate your faith with action. Break the huddle of endless planning and preparing and get to work! Doing what you are passionate about makes building your authentic brand easy.
2. Get Undressed – Yes, I said it! You need to become nude for the entire world to see!
One word of caution before you strip down to your penny loafers: Super-blogger Jai Stone calls for women to embrace “emotional nudity” and partake in a daily dose of self-reflection, acceptance and honesty. Emotional nudity gives women power and purpose as we seek fulfillment in our personal and professional lives.
Gone are the days of easy cookie-cutter formulas for branding which allow you to take a distant and removed approach to communicating with your audience. In the era of social sharing your honesty and authenticity is one of the most valuable commodities you offer. Your followers want to know the real you, not the perfect, corporate Suzie homemaker you like to pretend to be. Your followers want to know what gets you riled up, what makes you tear up and what gets you fed up. In getting nude you will discover what your emotional appeal is and find a niche audience that welcomes you.
3. Don't Be a Hypocrite - If you say you want to help people, social media has the potential of being a very generous platform. If you say you want to be a leader, GET REAL, start invoicing for services and pull your proverbial pants up. In failing to do so, you have no reason to complain about why your business is not getting love. You have not grown up, and that's okay if this is where you are. If you have a vision, you should be a faithful steward over the small things like developing the habit of completing services early or on time. Invest in your image and leave the customer with a good impression of your brand.
Finally, remember that the small things really do count. Coca-Cola recently proved this with their “Share a Coke” campaign that places names on bottles of Coke to suggest sharing them with the special people in our lives. This small change to the label has made waves in social media and has proven that the little things really do make a big difference.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Secrets, Sex, Lies and Literature

Burn the Books: Secrets, Sex, Lies and Literature

What will I teach my daughters about being themselves? How can I suffer myself the task of preparing them to be perfect and chaste women while the secrets of my own girlhood are one journal, letter, book or conversation away from being laid bare? Far from a pure or perfect person, I am a poor example of both. I am also irreverently proud of those facts. As I prepare to reap the life I have sown so many planting seasons ago, I also prepare to face ugly truths and to do so unabashedly.

I urge mothers to be women with a past and to be women who have earned their stripes and the right to “preach” to their daughters. I will teach my daughters that perfection and purity are unnecessary goals. Love must again be unconditional. I will tell my daughters the truth about my life in small morsels until they are ready for larger portions. As mothers, we have no right to be secret-keepers for life and death are empowered by our testimonies where only death and destruction would dare silence us.

Aziza Kibibi is an East Orange based culinary artist whose forthcoming book, Unashamed, will make you ponder ancient secrets of the world and secrets within your own family. As women, we have dreamed of being queens but many of us do not focus on ruling the day. Instead, women have traditionally been silenced. Today I make the most of opportunities for empowerment as I contribute to conversations about simply being women: single, married, seeking, mama, martyr, mayhem, militant and everything in between. Kibibi’s autobiography deals with various cannons of social, psychological and historical thought. Her very delicate golden web of words is encrusted in the threads of the global conscience which binds all women to the first woman, Eve.

As I think about the impact of history, genetics, and time upon the way in which I raise my own daughters, I am glad that there are women who have come full circle in their views of humanity and self that they might pave the way for others. Speaking candidly with my daughters as they grow older is important to me. Kibibi prepares her readers to deal with sexual taboo, secrets, lies and incest in this literary awakening that provides a sweet, clear caviar of truth in the snare of man’s demons.

I urge mothers, sisters, daughters and best friends to be resolute in speaking their truths with each other that they might enjoy a brief moment in the light. Read books that challenge you at your innermost core and which push you to think about and imagine who you are beyond what you have been told. Do your research. I tried it myself and lost my religion in the process. Welcome to the faith. You are in good company.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Private Person's Guide to Social Entrepreneurship (Get Nude)

You just opened your first Twitter account and re-opened your Facebook. Congratulations! You have taken an important step in the right direction. Of course now, your non-listed "number" is in the phone book. What's more, you are newly global. For a private person, the prospect of your PERSONAL out in the open, uncharted spaces is downright terrifying. After all, there is very little you can do to control who picks up their phone and calls you out.

How do you survive? Here are 6 steps to help you tackle your fear of personal and professional nudity (that's right, what you actually fear is exposure).

# 1: Bishop Jeff Davis inspired me with one special phrase from his book, "Born To Do This." If you have decided that you are born for something, you have a responsibility to honor that gift and validate your faith with action. Break the huddle because you have no other means of being a blessing to anyone, until you have proven to YOURSELF that you believe in that thing you have already committed your speech to.

# 2: So far, your inaction is due to one thing: you subscribe to the doctrine of fear. Your faith has been tested and your vision has been challenged. You are not wrong to be afraid or shortsighted. You are human, so, grant yourself that much. You might also be afraid that your post-lives are there to haunt you. Come as you are and BE who you are and the blemishes in your past can never taunt you.

# 3: Don't be a hypocrite. If you say you want to help people, social media has the potential of being a very generous platform. If you say you want to be a leader, Dr. Spight, author of Urban Manhood would strongly urge you to GET REAL, start invoicing and pull your pants up. In failing to do so, you have no reason to complain about why your business is not getting love. You have not grown up, and that's okay if this is where you are. If you have a vision, you should be a faithful steward over something so small as this. You invest in yourself first and all other things will be added on to this. Michael Jordan has enough money. Clean your image up in more renewing ways than new sneakers or Cover Girl lipstick.

# 4: Be consistent. Gary Vaynerchuk would remind the budding social entrepreneur to re-read number 1 above before continuing. If you are doing what you are born to do, you are energized, excited, you would even do it for free. Literally. And that's good because you WILL have to. You earn EVERY one of those stripes and you EARN your seat at the table and no one will ever question the passion, commitment or devotion behind your elevator pitch. Hello. You should look in your mirror and ask yourself if you are ready to completely sign on to the business vision you have set up. If you have, you will BE the difference. If you have not, you will BE dismissed as mere noise. Sadly, inauthenticity means that you can NEVER be counted. Just keep it real with your self. You will offend some people. Here's why I care less about offending some people. Please read # 5.

# 5: Do not get naked unless you can hang. In fact, please be aware that your private conversation is public record. If you say you believe in supporting the ideation behind #BrandYourConscience, you had better be ready to have your life on record and in full-view and YOU are not mainstream because mainstream is politically pretty. You are not that. You are the LIGHT and the light WILL SHINE on you whether you are prepared or not. So, naturally, some people will find offense in you. Please, if you can't hang, keep your clothes on because what's underneath will be UNDRESSED, ADDRESSED and REDRESSED by many in public and in private and you may not always be invited to THAT conversation or addressed respectfully. No judgement, no whispers, JUST wisdom. Take what you like...

# 6: Learn to tell a story that you REALLY believe is a good one and it will be worth reading.
For more on this, follow @MichaelChatman and #WHYiGive and the lovely brown ladies of #SixBrownChicks (@SixBrownChicks) who always have something interesting and edifying to say.

Finally, please note that every disagreement or discussion is not a sign of back-pedaling or falling off. How can we claim to be Digital Evangelists, speakers, mentors, trainers and leaders if we are afraid to engage in topics that have not fully evolved? I can justifiably challenge you to rethink your positions. Running away, tail-tucked and scared is not the answer to the change you seek. Public communication does not have to be pretty, it can be a whole mess as long as it serves some purpose. Growth and individual development in the long run are the side effects to your nudity. Look to +Jai Stone. You have probably been emotionally nude without being conscious of yourself. It is a shame. Get over your need to be mainstream as soon as yesterday.

Above all, know yourself so that you can be yourself and LIVE with whatever you put on open record. It will come back to bless you.


Jean Usen is a passionate and goal-directed public relations professional and digital evangelist who seeks to contribute to the conversations that people have with themselves and about themselves in public spaces. ChronoSpark Public Relations is a start-up vision promoted by the Gospel of Jesus and the heart of a social justice activist.  I am aided by strong leadership and managerial skill and abetted by 7 years of experience in the industry shaking things up in very minor and individualistic ways. I welcome your feedback on this article and on the blog! (Tweet: @ChronoSparkPR)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Question of Access

The Question of Access

We have to ask the right questions.
How can urban youth get access to the tutoring and tools
that they need to be academically and professionally sound
in their ministerial, entrepreneurial and social justice endeavor?

You have probably asked who will do this?
Who will make them more financially responsible?
Who will help them to invest in others in their community?
How can I be ambitious when I have nothing to offer and nothing to give away?

You have long underestimated your capacity and it is time to CHANGE.

You have asked all of the right questions.
The answer is and has always been to rely on the strength of collective effort.
You have a gift and were born to USE IT for such a time as this.

You may be wondering if this is some gag, promotion or some other means to GET
from you what you cannot or will not offer.

If this does not SPEAK to you where you are RIGHT NOW no matter what
you do or do not have in your pockets -

You should not continue to visit this site.

This message is for the select few who have been called out of their sleep at 2 AM this morning.

It is not for ALL.

(But I love you still the same).

Young entrepreneur. Your vision is being tested. You have wondered why no one can see you.
Who is listening? Why have I not received my blessing?

Good question.

Tweet Me YOUR answer @ChronoSparkPR #BrandU #BrandYourConscience #RealTalk

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

You Should #BrandU

My name is Jean Usen and my journey is an assignment from God.
Be cool, I come in peace.

I know that some will feel this mission is pretentious.
It's not. But it's also not for everyone. Just to be clear.

The Lord has prepared a pathway through my passion - public relations.
This blog contains my #PRPrayers for youth.
The #BrandU and #BrandYourConscience vision is igniting
Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and DC.
If you are a daring, young entrepreneur with passion and commitment 
for Poetry, Public Relations, Digital Marketing, Web Design, Blogging, Hip Hop or Social Activism, 
My friends and I are eager to invest in and mentor you.
More on them later...

If YOU happen to be an aspiring entrepreneur with a unique vision for
IMPACT and are ready to ACTIVELY participate in changing the conversations about you 
And around you 
that have not INCLUDED you
then STEP UP and help to #BrandU.

If you have are inspired by discussions about race, Hip Hop and religion...
I want to hear from you especially.

If you currently tweet, blog or professionally serve in one way or another...
Don't be afraid... No biting allowed here.

Your voice is no longer lost.
I am a kindred spirit.
You have found a home.

Don't let the boogie shell and bible verses fool you.
Christian is the new COOL.

Read the blogs if you don't believe me!

Keep pace on Twitter to see how #BrandYourConscience 
and #RealTalk are helping to change the conversation
and paying it forward.


Reach Out For More Info On How You Can Be
Involved in Emerging Discussions About Social Change and Greater
Social Impact!!
Twitter: @ChronoSparkPR