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Dear (Contact First Name), 

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"The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry."

                                              Robert Burns, Scottish poet


Here it is almost Feburary. It never occurred to me that we'd put out a combined January/February issue of emusings and that the first issue of the new year wouldn't land in your mailboxes until the end of January. Our intent was to launch our new website by the first of the year to coincide with emusings. This turned out to be one of those best laid schemes old Bob was talking about. Suffice it to say that there were some unforeseen delays with the web. The good news is that we're adaptable. The great news is that our new website is now up - we invite you to visit us at www.doboldwork.com - and our renamed emusings is in front of you.


As I'm sure many of you know, January is named for the Roman god Janus. His name's origin can be traced to the Latin word ianua, meaning door. In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of doors, doorways, gates, beginnings and endings. Janus is most often depicted as having two faces. One looks back, the other forward; one contemplates what has been while the other looks towards what will be.  


So it seems appropriate that we launch our new brand now. We look to our past, remembering where we have been and what has brought us to today. And we look towards our future, to helping people build an open and healthy work climate, where we learn, unlearn and relearn, and where we embrace continuous development in every aspect of our lives.


Welcome to BoldWork.


Jennie Ayers

Senior Partner, BoldWork  

In This Issue
Four Qualities of Top Notch Brands
Why You Need a Personal Brand
Is It Time for a Brand Change?
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"What's a Brand?" by Jennie Ayers 

(521 words - estimated reading time: less than 3 minutes)


The buzz word is "brand". Every company, product or service needs one. (So do individuals - a topic Janice takes on in her article below.) In order to create a brand, we first have to know what a "brand" is. I thought I was pretty savvy...until I sat down and tried to define it. I was all over the place and suddenly, "brand" was my "pornography". I couldn't define it but I knew it when I saw one.


famous brandsWe're fortunate that Patrick Barwise and Sean Meehan didn't have the same challenge in defining "brand". In their December 2010 Harvard Business Review article, "The One Thing You Must Get Right When Building a Brand", the authors share results from their analyses of the strategies and performance of a diverse range of companies. They provide us with a clear picture of the four fundamental qualities that great brands share:


  1. They offer and communicate a clear, relevant customer promise. (It's what we tell our customers they can expect from us, our products and our services.)
  2. They build trust by delivering on that promise. (For example, when I think of Southwest Airlines, I immediately think fun, informal, value. I'm not disappointed - for example, the delivery of safety info is entertaining and the airline doesn't charge for ticket changes.)
  3. They drive the market by continually improving the promise. (Witness their Idea Runway, an internal site designed to streamline innovation and collaboration.)
  4. They seek further advantage by innovating beyond the familiar. (For example, Southwest's alliance with Facebook to help people donate miles to children in need.)

How Do We Stack Up?


Once I read the above, I began to wonder if we were still on track. Sure, we've all thought about it (no one more diligently that our managing partner, Kris Campbell) and there have been many discussions, some into the night. Still, when it comes to those four fundamental qualities, how do we stack up? As it turns out, I think pretty well.


  1. We promise that if "you bring effort to understand, foster and deliberately practice BoldWork, you'll experience a more satisfying, motivating, productive and purposeful engagement with your work." This is relevant because work is such a big part of our life and part of our personal identity.
  2. We build trust through the experiences our clients have with us and our products and services. These experiences are consistently authentic and productive. We use our own, real work life experience, combined with respected, reliable research, to create our products and services.
  3. We proactively update and redesign our products and services, in response to changing client needs. And as trusted advisors, consultants and coaches, we commit to our own lifelong personal and professional development.
  4. We continue to challenge habitual ways of thinking and doing. We create often, we innovate continuously. We are always looking for the great "aha" moment.

boldworklogoFive years ago, when we launched our new Challenge It Now logo, it was the beginning of a new adventure. Now, with the creation of BoldWork, the adventure continues. We invite you to join us.



"What's Your Brand?" by Janice Criddle

(509 words - estimated reading time: less than 3 minutes)


When we think of branding, most of us connect the concept to companies or organizations. But in today's economic climate, individual branding is also key. For those working, job security is almost non-existent. Because today's workplace is filled with layoffs and cutbacks, emphasis is on finding ways to stand out among peers. Personal branding creates a platform that lets you communicate your strengths to your team members, your employer and your clients. If you've already experienced a layoff, personal branding can be key in helping you land your next position. And for those of you who have decided to venture down the entrepreneurial path, personal branding helps you target an audience and communicate to them why they should do business with you.

 Your Personal BrandJust as organizations spend time (and money) creating their brand, you'll need to make an investment in your personal brand. And the first step in doing that is to define your brand. To think about how you want others to perceive you and how you get them to see you as the one who can provide a solution to their problems.


Sound like a tall order? Here are some questions that will get you started in creating your own brand.


  • What skills and experience do you offer? Define your qualities. Be specific.
  • What are your core values? What are the core values of your company?
  • What is the mission of your company? The best mission statements are no more than 3-4 sentences and clearly define your company (or you). What do you do? Why do you do it? What do you stand for?
  • What does your company (or you) specialize in? What makes your company (or you) unique?
  • Who is your target market/customer? In other words, who (whether internal or external to your company) receives the value of your work?
  • Using the information from the previous steps, create a personality or character for yourself, which represents you. What is the character like? What qualities stand out? Are you innovative, creative, energetic, sophisticated? Do you have a relevant technical skill?
  • Use the personality that you created in the previous step to enhance the relationship with your target market that you defined. How does that personality react with your target audience? What characteristics stand out? Which characteristics and qualities get the attention of your "customers"?
  • Review the answers to the questions above and create a profile of your brand. Describe the personality or character with words just as if you were writing a biography or personal ad. Be creative.

Once you've got a solid profile, revisit the four fundamental qualities that great brands share. (See Jennie's "What's a Brand" article above.) Does your brand address each one?


A strong brand is invaluable in marketing yourself, whether you're showcasing yourself within your own organization, looking for that new position or embarking upon your own business. Take the time to invest, research, define and build your brand. After all, it's the source of the promise you make to your customer.


So....what's your brand?


"Slay the Status Quo Look of Yester-Year" by Rebecca Ripley 

(455 words - estimated reading time: less than 3 minutes)


As we launch this month's bold new look, it seems like the perfect time for you to take a look at your company's brand. (Or your own personal brand.) Is your company holding on to its current brand because it's still relevant? Or does the brand remain unchanged because of economics? It takes money to design a new logo and website, to update a blog. And it takes time - time we don't have. But does the status quo adequately, accurately and appropriately represent who you are today?  More importantly, does it shout to the universe, "We're proud of who we are and what we do"?


Getting rid of a current brand may indeed be the sacred squirrel you need to slay. But how do you decide when it's time to change your brand?  It's risky business. Remember the New Coke fiasco?  (Did you know that across the globe, Coke is the second most recognized word in the English language after hello?) Tropicana's new orange juice packaging was recently pulled after being called everything from "ugly" to "stupid" to "generic". And Gap's new logo was scrapped only days after it launched to scathing reviews. Sometimes, the familiar brings us a needed sense of comfort when all around us the world is changing.    


Starbucks logo history
Starbucks' Logo History 

But if you're launching a new service or product, or reinventing yourself or your business, your old look may need to go. Established companies successfully change brands all the time. Take  Starbucks. In April of this year, the company celebrates its 40th anniversary by launching its new logo and identity.


Gone are the words "Starbucks" and "coffee". This not only positions the company as something other than a simple purveyor of coffee, it gives the company a global persona by unhooking it from the English speaking world. Starbucks' new logo - shifting from an angular logo to one with softer, rounder shapes - hints at the company's desire to expand its presence in countries like China and India. These cultures prefer rounded shapes - which are found much more readily in their logos.


Experts think the new Starbucks logo will be a hit. They conclude that the company's redesign is subtle enough not to alienate most of its current core customers and savvy enough to win over the Asian market.


Is it time for you to slay the sacred squirrel that's your current brand? Is it time for you to create something new and fresh and exciting? For us, the answer was "yes". We lay to rest our former name and look and completely reinvented ourselves.  We love our new look and hope you do, too. If it's time for you to re-brand, check out Janice's article, "What's Your Brand?", for suggestions on how to get started.


Say goodbye to "Challenge It Now" and our big orange ball logo. It has served us well, but we're embarking on a different journey. Starting with this issue, we've launched our new BoldWork brand. We're excited about it and we love it!


We hope you will as well.  

boldworklogoAt BoldWork, we specialize in helping businesses and organizations optimize the performance of the people who work for them.

Typically, our clients come to us when they are seeking to change, to solve problems or to challenge a status quo that no longer works. Most importantly, they call us when they want to create a WorkClimate that increases motivation and strengthens employee engagement.

Please take a moment and visit our website at www.doboldwork.com to find out more about us and what we have to offer. Or contact us for additional information at info@doboldwork.com