Think PR is the answer to your brand woes? Think again.

There will likely to be three camps of people reading this article: high profile women who have PR teams, emerging or high profile women who are considering hiring a PR team and, PR teams who work with high calibre women themselves. Regardless of which camp you’re in, welcome. There is something here for all of you.

Look around in 2018 and it won’t take you long to see the trash fire that is managing public and media scrutiny for high profile brands. The amazing opportunity for digital conversations at the touch of a button means the world is smaller than ever before and the potential for global impact greater. This can either be the best thing that’s ever happened to your brand, or the worst. Combined with the trend of consumer activism, the potential for your brand to bolt from underneath you like wild horses has never been more real. And this can have serious implications for the longevity of your success.

This wouldn’t be news to any high quality, market leading expert, because many of them understand the rewards, risks and sacrifices of having the honour to influentially shape the world in some way. This is why many realise at some point or another that they need help with managing their connection to the media and public, and subsequently hire a PR team.

However, there’s a crucial step missing along the way which is not only creating real risk for their reputation and brand, but also a world of headaches for PR teams themselves. The result means that crisis management has become more of the norm, instead of the exception, and the world is moving from crisis to crisis with batted breath.

Investing in a quality media and PR team to help you manage interfacing with the market is vital for anyone serious about the longevity of their brand, however the crucial missing step is what happens between having a platform and executing to market.

Any high quality media specialist will agree that their ability to successfully manage your brand in the public sphere depends on the quality of product you give them to work with.

You can have the biggest platform in the world, however utilising it means doing the inner work required to effectively package all the ingredients, connections, IP and strategies you uniquely bring for your PR team to utilise. Otherwise, many PR teams spend their time and your money fire-fighting the fall out, stressed out, operating in reactionary mode, constantly on high alert and essentially being life support to your brand when they’re capable of so much more.

PR teams often get the bad rap in disastrous situations. How many times have we heard people comment, “WHO is this persons PR?”, “Fire their media person” or “I hired a PR person and it was a waste of my money” when many of the problems could be avoided and solved with the leader either doing the inner work required to create and develop a compelling brand prior to engaging a media team, or in synergy with a media team.

Given the right tools, your PR team can be an important part of strategically building your vision. Giving them the space to effectively achieve this goes beyond execution of media 101. It means the difference between being driven by your market or being empowered to map out the journey and take people along with you.

It’s also important to point out that while we’re talking specifically about PR teams today, the same can be said for other teams you work with to help you engage with your market - whether that be social media managers, personal branding photographers, videographers, graphic designers, website developers, political advisers, etc. In all scenarios the work first and fundamentally begins with the leader and streams out to the relevant specialists accordingly.

Regardless of whether you’re a business woman (or identify as one) or personal brand yourself who needs further help OR perhaps a media specialist working with a leader currently who would benefit from this work, please feel free to reach out.

Shevonne Joyce teaches women the secrets of how to be the true go-to brand in their industry and create businesses and brands that are as successful on the inside as they appear on the outside. For a confidential conversation, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
The number one go-to brand in the world? Your ego.

If you’re wondering what link you’ve stumbled upon and what on earth this is all about – welcome. You’re about to learn something that will change your understanding of the human experience – and thus, change your business.

To gain full value of this article will require you to suspend all judgement, justification and simply explore the opportunities and possibilities herein. This is because we’re going to be discussing your ego in a way that your ego may not be used to.

You see, ego likes to work its magic behind the scenes like a trusted adviser and let you be the face of the show.  For ego, this will be akin to letting the world’s media into its head office to reveal what really goes on behind those shiny doors. It’s not that ego is hiding, or not transparent, it’s simply like any smart brand; protective of its IP.

Our ego can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss because there’s much misunderstanding about the role it plays in our lives (and business) and what that ultimately means about us. It’s often painted as the evil character to fight or wrestle with or reject. We attribute it to being responsible for egotistical, narcissistic and selfish traits, which of course can be true on one hand. On the other hand? Ego is important for our growth and evolution. We need it for our very survival and utilised in a healthy way, with a defined project scope, ego can be valuable.

Left to run unabated though?

Ego is very conscientious, but in a way that’s like 850 Donald Trumps amplified by 20. It’s only failing is that it can do its job too well – the kind of well that can be costly for your personal reputation, credibility, authority, presence and alignment to your purpose (heart and wisdom). Like anyone who is very talented at what they do, it has all the ingredients to be the ultimate super power, as long as its gifts are channelled in the most effective way.

The first step is understanding the kind of role that ego may be playing in your business. Examine what it’s giving you and costing you.

For example, is ego keeping you small? Or helping you to sensibly navigate new heights?

Some key signs of ego’s presence include a need to know, get even, be right, justify, judge or look good (and if you find yourself saying, ‘yeah, BUT I only do that when…’ or ‘I do that BECAUSE…’ Or completely deny its existence, that’s just ego doing what it does best).

What makes ego so powerful?

Ego has nailed how to position itself as the number one go-to brand in your life and business. If we could examine ego purely from the sense of its entrepreneurial capabilities, it’s the ultimate master. There’s in fact much we can learn from it – a few points of which we will explore today.

Ego has learnt the art of compelling thought leadership

Ego understands its ideal client (you) so intimately and the results you want that it has become part of your very identity. It has the ability to cultivate the kind of trusted and personal relationship that always adds value, leaves you asking for more, pushes boundaries, connects deeply with the problems you want to solve and your inner most desires. Like a well-oiled machine, it knows exactly what you want and need, exactly when you need it. It can translate thought leadership across complex cross-cultural environments. Ego is creative, clever, agile, listens and responds, whilst also always been one step ahead.

Ego has built a rock solid, powerful movement

Ego is a market leader in every sense and is constantly developing innovative work that pushes boundaries in its industry. Ego is purposeful with strategy, stakeholder engagement and has complete ownership over how it connects to market. Its intuition is learnt, it leaves nothing to chance and it’s always one step ahead of the game. Contrary to popular belief, it always operates with integrity and wants the best for you. Ego is also visionary, yet humble… Not in the sense that it sees itself as lesser, but that it is wholeheartedly there to serve you.

Getting better results than anyone else in its industry is a non-negotiable

Ask ego and it will deliver. Ego fundamentally believes the proof is in the pudding, has a high rate of recommendation and referral and lets its work speak for itself. It wants nothing but to deliver the best for you and will emanate this standard throughout the lifecycle of your work together. Ego is the kind of leader that will keep delivering until the wider market can’t ignore it anymore.

Clever, huh?

Shevonne Joyce teaches women the secrets of how to be the true go-to brand in their industry and create businesses and brands that are as successful on the inside as they appear on the outside. For a confidential conversation, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
What to do when you’re in the spotlight… And terrified of the spotlight.

Imagine this: you are in a role that requires you to not only be in the spotlight, but command it. Yet, you’re absolutely terrified of it. This includes being on public platforms, in the media or simply challenging the status quo in your field.

Being in the spotlight for you is like being caged with a wild tiger and achieving the level of success you dream of requires you to tame it.

But you’ve never tamed a tiger before.

You know you’re good with animals. Your friends cats like you, but this isn’t a cat, it’s a tiger.

You know that you could do great things with a tame tiger. In fact, it’s really become a make or break for you now because everyone is expecting you to tame this tiger. Your personal reputation and success in your field depends on it.

As much as you try to pretend the tiger isn’t there, and as much as you try to ignore the tiger, it’s there, in your living room, in the cage with you, taking up more of your space.

Deep down you know you actually NEED the tiger to be successful and so a love/hate relationship forms with the tiger.

Sound familiar?

There’s many reasons why women struggle to tame the tiger that is their fear of being in the spotlight. All of which are largely rooted in the social conditioning that we receive around ‘how to be successful as a woman.’ This leads to many problems that fundamentally impact our success as an authority in our field.

Examples include, (but are not limited to):

Women going to extreme lengths to avoid the spotlight altogether

Despite being astronomically talented with so much to give to the world, mind you!

Sometimes they know what they’ve got to offer, but they keep all the ingredients locked away in a cupboard, because it’s safe there.

Other times they have no idea what kind of gold mine they are sitting on or how to articulate that in a new and original way in their market.

Women getting into the spotlight and underselling what they do, using diminutive language.

They spend so much time telling people all the reasons why they are not the person to buy from, vote for, how terrified they are of their job, that they completely miss the opportunity to strategically connect and leverage.

Women putting others into the spotlight instead.

All this achieves is positioning everyone else as the authority in their field by leveraging their expertise, thought leadership, talents in front of your ideal audience instead of your own. It’s not that there isn’t great value in lifting other women up and creating collective success (we’re all for it), but it becomes a problem when you’re doing it to your own detriment.

Problems similar to these result in you having less impact, making less money, creating less change, and reaching a lower benchmark of personal success than you are ultimately capable of.

If you’re seeing, feeling, hearing yourself in these descriptions, the good news is the tiger is completely tameable- when you know how. Each tiger generally needs an individualised training program, specifically designed for the problems they are experiencing, however here are 3 recommendations to set you on the path to success.

1.    Identifying what you specifically have to offer which is spotlight-worthy

What are you doing that’s different to anyone else? How does that achieve better results for your audience? How are you fundamentally changing society, the world, your industry? What is it about your offer that your ideal market can’t live without?

Before you go out and connect with a market, it’s important to specifically design what you individually have that is connection worthy and why that’s important to your ideal market.

Hint: often what ends up being your spotlight-worthy advantage is not what you originally thought it was! 

2.   Learning how to present in the spotlight with power and impact

Once you know exactly WHAT you have to offer, the next step is presenting that with certainty, credibility and transparency. This is about taking the parts of you and what you offer and connecting them with the parts of your ideal audience that need to light up in order to motivate behaviour and change… Be that buying from you, joining the movement, voting for you.

This isn’t about ‘faking it til you make it’ or ‘being someone you’re not.’ It’s about taking the unique parts of you that your ideal market can’t live another day without being introduced to and creating the connection.

3.   Developing certainty through disruption

Developing rock solid certainty as a leader means becoming comfortable with the process of disruption. This includes learning how to manage and respond to those who are challenged by what you’re presenting.

This enables you to not only no longer fear being challenged but thrive on it and learn to utilise it for the growth of your movement.

Shevonne Joyce teaches women the secrets of how to be the true go-to brand in their industry and create businesses and brands that are as successful on the inside as they appear on the outside. For a confidential conversation, please get in touch.

 

Shevonne Joyce
How high-profile women can avoid falling victim to the ‘sitting duck’ syndrome in interviews

The advertisement of horse racing on a world heritage building has dominated the media and political discussion recently. For those of you who may have been on a Mars expedition over the past couple of weeks and missed the furore, we’re referring to the Sydney Opera house and the advertising request of the NSW based prestigious Everton horse race.

This debate has raised significant questions about how we treat our valued architectural icons, political decision-making and influence of the media and other corporations. At the centre of this controversy was CEO of the Opera House, Louise Herron, who was mowed down on live radio by shock-jock Alan Jones, for simply doing her job. That is, negotiating the terms of such an arrangement as per policy and legislative requirements.

There has been strong condemnation of the way Alan conducted the interview and his questioning of Herron. Specifically, the way he routinely interrupted her, cut her off and asked her ‘who do you think you are?’ as if she was not qualified in her position of CEO to make the decision at hand.

He also threatened to have her terminated from her position and put Peter V’landy, Chief Executive and Board Member of Racing NSW on the line to nut out a negotiation live on air. While it’s unclear whether Louise knew she would be put on the spot in such circumstances, the interview came across as an ‘ambush.’

What is the ‘sitting duck’ syndrome?

‘Sitting duck’ syndrome in this context refers to moments where women are subjected to inappropriate or lewd lines of questioning, statements or general conduct in an interview in circumstances whereby they are unable to escape. For example, live on radio, television, on stage in front of an audience. Topics vary and could be anything from a woman unreasonably having their capability questioned, to comments or questions about their attire, appearance, sexual appeal, parenting skills or reproductive system. It usually occurs in situations where there is a power imbalance.

It goes without saying that no one deserves to be subjected to such conduct as a guest on any platform. Louise is not the first high profile woman to experience it and unfortunately in the current climate, she won’t be the last.

Other recent examples include:

  • Jacinda Arden being described as ‘attractive’ by Charles Wooley on 60 minutes and questioned regarding her daughter Neve’s date of conception

  • Carly Findlay being on the receiving end of inappropriate comments regarding her appearance from Jon Faine

  • Mo Hope receiving backlash after walking out on a panel discussion where Mick Malthouse made sexist comments about female footballers

Social conditioning usually means that women are quite often expected to ‘endure’ inappropriate behaviour without ‘making a scene’ and accommodating others to the best of our ability. The good news is there are ways that women can empower themselves to avoid, prepare for and manage the ‘sitting duck’ syndrome in a way that maintains their credibility and authority.

1.    Set expectations regarding your personal standards and the kind of questions you are comfortable answering

It’s highly advisable to negotiate the context of the interview or discussion, the types of topics or questions you are happy to discuss or answer and those that are off-limits. If possible, ask to receive a list of proposed questions up front in writing. The very nature of conversations means they can sometimes take on a life of their own in the moment, however having an idea of what will likely be discussed is a great way for you to manage expectations.

2.   Predict the likely objections you may receive

Any high-quality leader who is building an impactful movement is likely to push some buttons, challenge thinking and generate conversation. This means there will be people who challenge or object to your work for various reasons; whether legitimate rebuttals or not. That will sometimes be the very person interviewing you.

Objections can often provide excellent opportunities to not only deepen the knowledge of your work, but to also educate others.

Understanding the nature of your work intimately and how it fits in the context of how other people experience the world, and their objectives and agendas, requires you to learn and predict the types of likely objections you may receive and prepare well considered responses to them.

3.   Understand that you always have the power to choose

Sometimes it’s simply not possible to gain a list of questions upfront, or predict what people ask or say to you live in the moment. Depending on your role, live unscripted, in the moment questions or interviews may be part and parcel of your work. In which case it’s important to understand that you always have the power to choose.

Just because they ask you a question, does not mean you have to answer it.

Just because someone attempts to derail a conversation, doesn’t mean you have to follow them down the garden path.

Just because you’ve agreed to an interview, doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to politely re-set boundaries or end it at any time.

Shevonne Joyce teaches women the secrets of how to be the true go-to brand in their industry and create businesses and brands that are as successful on the inside as they appear on the outside. For a confidential conversation, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
Classified: the secret sauce of the world’s most successful high-profile women revealed.

In a world where anyone and everyone can have a platform and call themselves ‘influential’, where ‘fans’ and ‘followers’ can be bought and sold, where trends come and go as quickly as the seasons, what differentiates and characterises the high-profile women (and those who identify as women) amongst us who are truly successful?

Influence has become a commodity and is highly sought after. The truth is real success depends on the substance of your influence. Many women have been sold the idea that they need to ‘prove’ their influence through achieving certain parameters or metrics. Contrary to popular belief, finding yourself on an expansive public platform with access to an audience of millions, or on the ‘top 10 list’ of the moment doesn’t mean you’ve ‘made it.’ In fact, there is no such thing as destination ‘made it’ – not even for Oprah.

This means many women dedicate their lives to achieving a certain threshold of success, only to get there and feel kind of… Empty. They realise their brand looks more successful on the outside, than what it is on the inside, and the prospect of anyone discovering the truth about that is terrifying.

The secret is that true success is all about longevity. Your clients, fans and audiences are always assessing whether you’re the kind of leader they want to remain loyal to and they will expect you to constantly deliver to higher standards in order to maintain the privilege of their trust. In order to not only survive in this environment, but thrive, requires you to learn to play the long game.

Not the short game. Not the loudest game. Not the game scored with vanity metrics. Not the instant gratification game. Not the today game. Not the popular game. The long game.

What are three key components that define the long game?

1.    Thinking beyond what you’re selling today

Regardless of the type of work you do as a brand, whether you’re a politician, a world-famous tennis player, a high-profile comedian, an entrepreneur, a television presenter, a member of royalty, you’re always selling something. Being truly successful involves understanding that what you sell goes beyond what you do, and especially beyond what you’re doing today. It expands into what your legacy is and the unique movement you’re building outside of your day to day work. It requires you to think beyond how the world exists today and into the future, and your role in not only shaping that, but pioneering it.

If we consider an artist like P!nk, she’s thinking beyond the music people love her for and expanding into human identity, expression, equality, empowerment and redefining beauty. She’s created the kind of brand that people are heavily invested into, regardless of whether they love her music or not – and unapologetically bucking all the trends in the process.

True success is really about creating a brand that’s timeless instead of passively evolving through the times. Are you existing amongst what is, or creating the future?

2.   Toiling until the world can’t ignore you anymore

You won’t find truly successful women labelling themselves the number one expert in anything nor demanding that the world pay attention to what they’re offering.

Instead, they understand that it’s their market who determines when they are considered an expert and they fully surrender to this undertaking. Getting better results than anyone else in their industry is a non-negotiable and they’ll continue serving and toiling until the world simply can’t ignore them anymore.

Their toiling includes learning and implementing the art of positioning and leveraging their work in value add, strategic ways; always in a clever, forward-thinking fashion.

3.   Trusting patience is your greatest ally

In the fast and furious world of mass production and quick fixes, the key to effectively achieving the long game is a deep investment in patience. True high-quality leaders understand that patience is about endurance - it was never meant to feel good in the moment. You therefore won’t find them chasing instant gratification or ‘feel good quick hits.’

In fact, the most revered leaders have an unshakable service mentality and often sacrifice personal accolade for their mission. They understand that the work they’re doing is usually ‘before the times.’ This means they understand that fundamental change may not be readily understood, accepted or adopted. In fact, it may mean the work they’re doing won’t become widely recognised until after they’ve died – and that’s a sacrifice they’re prepared to make.

What are you prepared to sacrifice today to be the kind of unforgettable leader we’ll remember long into the future?

Shevonne Joyce teaches women the secrets of how to be the true go-to brand in their industry and create businesses and brands that are as successful on the inside as they appear on the outside. For a confidential conversation, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
How to effectively manage your online presence as a high-profile brand

The very social conditioning that impacts the way women interact in everyday life, also impacts their online engagement. As such, many women feel at the mercy of the digital world - like they need to defend their right to participate in it, rather than carve and build their unique identity, brand and presence. This prevents them from building the innovative, credible and powerful movements they are capable of.

Most commonly, they find themselves experiencing one of the following problems:

  • Feeling unable to put their true thought leadership out into the world for fear of retribution,

  • Rendering themselves ball and chain to their digital assets in a constant state of self-defence, or;

  • Completely shutting down in the face of public scrutiny, feeling unable to respond at all, let alone effectively

Sound familiar?

Effectively managing your online presence requires an individualised and targeted strategy, beyond basic social media management. Without it, a lot of time and energy is lost in social media ‘noise.’ Make no mistake that your market pays attention to how you engage and respond. The more influential your brand becomes, the more amplified the personal and professional repercussions.

If you are at the point where you feel like your market is eating you alive and engaging online is exhausting, stressful and downright be-wildering, please feel free to get in touch. In the meantime, here are three key recommendations to get you started on effectively managing your online presence:

1.    Be empowered in your online spaces and set standards with your market

Think of our digital world as like a neighbourhood, with digital assets (including social media pages) being our personal patch of digital landscape. Just as you visit the space of others as a guest, they also visit your space as a guest. As we move through the neighbourhood and experience different spaces, we make decisions about the kind of places we want to hang out in.

Holding your market to a high standard of engagement from the outset is crucial for maintaining a culture that aligns with your movement. It enables you to attract your ideal guests, whilst simultaneously allowing the non-ideal audience to self-select out. 

How you exactly go about setting standards and expectations will depend on the platform and your market.

2.   Be clear on your own personal standards for engagement

The reality is when you are positively disrupting and building an innovative or progressive movement, and doing it well, it’s going to challenge the thinking of many people. Not everyone is going to agree with your personal leadership approach or the mission at hand – it’s not your job to convince them to. The most successful leaders in history always stood for something, instead of nothing or everything. How you differentiate yourself matters.

It’s important to not only create a human centred strategy for the calibre of people you would like to reach and be connected to online, but to also set your own personal standards for engagement. This includes the way you approach and connect, as well as the way you respond and disconnect.

The personal standards you set will depend on your individual leadership identity, values, market and brand. Consider:

a.    The kind of discussions you want to create, participate in and how that contributes to your overall strategy

b.    The type of commentary that’s simply not worth your time engaging in. For example, there’s a difference between discussing facts, and wasting hours down the rabbit hole with people who want to debate whether facts exist

c.    What your boundaries are for the way people engage with you. For example, no one has to put up with inappropriate, insulting or abusive conduct, regardless of their position

3.   Be resistant to justification

A key mistake that many high-profile leaders make is falling victim to justification. When the realms of justification are entered, it immediately transitions the conversation from an opportunity to engage, inform and serve to being driven by the need to be ‘right’ or justified.

Your market will be looking to you for assurance, certainty, vision and credibility. One of the surest signs of an uncertain leader is the need to ‘prove’ themselves.

High quality leaders understand that regardless of their level of success, there are going to be times when they are the most knowledgeable in a room, and times when they’re the least knowledgeable. Regardless of what room you are in, learning can occur in some of the most surprising and unexpected places. Always be open to it.

Shevonne Joyce teaches women the secrets of how to be the true go-to brand in their industry and create businesses and brands that are as successful on the inside as they appear on the outside. For a confidential conversation, please get in touch.

 

Shevonne Joyce
What if... Your work doesn't become widely recognised until after you die?

True geniuses and experts are often 'before their time.' They're pioneering future innovation and thought leadership while the rest of the world languishes in the 'current.'

They're often seen as 'controversial' and shunned or widely criticised. It's not until the rest of the world catches up to see the beauty of what they offered that suddenly they become revered. Sometimes this occurs many years after their death.

Despite this, these leaders often dedicate their life to their craft, accepting that the mission at hand is greater than any personal recognition they'll receive in their life time. The mark they subsequently leave on the world is often priceless.

What would you say if you knew this was destined to be you? That in order to create significant change you'll have to forgo any personal recognition or accolade in your life time? Would you still be as dedicated? Would it mean as much to you?

If the answer to those questions is yes, congratulations - you've found your life purpose.

Shevonne Joyce teaches women the secrets of how to be the true go-to brand in their industry and create businesses that are as successful on the inside as they appear on the outside. For a confidential conversation, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
Welcome to the era of conditional empowerment

It’s undeniable that in many ways we have come a tremendous long way with female empowerment. From the beginnings of the women’s rights movement through to 2018, we’ve achieved a great deal (despite the fact there are rights we campaigned for back then that we’re still campaigning for now - pay equity, anyone?) What’s equally undeniable is we still have a long way to go.

Equality, more broadly, is rather complex. There are many issues to unpack and carefully sift through. Each layer comes with its own unique set of challenges, realisations and learnings – often uncomfortable and not previously considered. One such challenge, realisation and learning is the current trend of conditional empowerment.

What is conditional empowerment?

 Conditional empowerment is, as the term suggests, where society ‘grants’ a disempowered group more empowerment than before, then stamps an enormous ‘BUT’ on it. Today we’re beginning a conversation on the conditional empowerment of women, however it’s important to point out that it impacts many disadvantaged individuals across various parts of our community.

Empowerment of women is everywhere. You can hardly walk down the street, turn on the television, download a podcast or open Instagram without hearing, reading and being exposed to messages about how ‘the future is female’ and ‘2018 is the year of the woman.’ As a side note, the future is in fact equality, but that’s another conversation for another day. What’s relevant here is that in many places where messages of empowerment can be found, they are accompanied with a little asterisk that has a long list of either explicit or implicit terms and conditions.

For example:

1.      ‘WOMEN ARE EMPOWERED TO DEMAND PAY EQUITY*’

*We’ll champion them to demand pay equity as long as we’re not actually required to pay them more equitably, or otherwise do anything about it. We also want to continue asking them to work for free in positions that should otherwise be reasonably remunerated and expect they shoulder the burden of unpaid work in our society (without complaint).

2.    ‘WOMEN ARE EMPOWERED TO SPEAK THEIR MIND*’

*provided they don’t ask any ‘hard questions’ or make statements without the use of diminutive language, apologising for existing or rocking the boat. In which case, they’re simply aggressive and we can’t have that.

3.    ‘WOMEN ARE EMPOWERED TO EMPOWER OTHER WOMEN*’

*provided they aren’t actually required to partake in daily activity that literally empowers women and only at times when it serves their self-interest. For example, when they have written a book about female empowerment and they want to hit the best sellers list.

4.    ‘WOMEN ARE EMPOWERED TO WORK THEIR WAY TO THE TOP*’

*provided they do so exactly as we demand they do and then don’t expect they will be appointed to the top job despite being the best qualified candidate for it, because ‘merit.’

Such conditions fundamentally impact who women are and how they interact with the world.  It limits their participation in it to yet another set of rules. It provides yet another gauntlet for them to run while trying to be both empowered and yet somehow still acceptable or pleasing to society as a whole.

Now, we’re certainly not trying to dismantle all messages, champions and movements of empowerment by suggesting there’s blanket disingenuity. It’s simply not true. What we are saying is that, whether intentional or not, conditional empowerment exists amongst us and its preventing true progression towards equality.

Contrary to popular assumption, such conditions are not only reinforced by men, but also other women. What’s truly difficult about resolving this problem is that it’s all rooted in the same bias, which can often be unconscious.

There are likely four camps of people currently reading this:

1.      Those who will immediately recognise very clearly how conditional empowerment has and is impacting them,

2.    Those who aren’t engaging in conditional empowerment, but have seen it impact others,

3.    Those for whom this piece will be uncomfortable, because they may be realising their bias for the first time and;

4.    Those who are still unsure what role, if any, they’re playing in perpetuating conditional empowerment, nor have seen any evidence of it to date

If you’re in the last group, awareness will be your ally. Pay attention to how you respond to various people in your environment, including women and the decisions you make with relation to matters that impact them. Also pay attention to how people respond to others. Delve deep and question assumptions.

Empowerment and equality go hand in hand. True empowerment is not possible without freedom. Freedom can’t be realised if it’s constrained in self-serving ways, rather than within bounds that genuinely benefit the collective evolution of our society. The collective is only as powerful as our individual unity within it.

So, with all this in mind, what’s your next step?

 

Shevonne Joyce
The Unspoken Sacrifice of High Profile Women

Reaching the top of your game and becoming ‘highly influential’ in your field is what many aspire to. Like with many things in life, we paint a picture of what it would be like to hold true influence and power in our field – the things we could do, the money we could make, the way we could change the world.

It’s an incredible honour to be trusted by your market in such a role. Deciding to work your way to the top echelon of success in your field is not a decision to make lightly or flippantly. Unfortunately, many find themselves thrust into a leadership capacity they are not prepared for.

Regardless of whether you are an aspiring expert beginning your journey to the top, a seasoned woman of influence who is deep in the thick of the game or have found yourself suddenly in the spotlight, there’s one sound piece of advice we cannot possibly ignore before moving on to talk about what can happen behind the camera and accolade:

Trying to ‘wing’ your success as the go-to brand is likely the quickest way to falter.

Winging it means you’re at the mercy of your brand, as opposed to being empowered to drive it. Think: constantly defending yourself, being torn apart in the media, relentlessly moulding yourself to subdue and please the masses. Once the horse has bolted, it’s gone. It’s the worst possible position any credible leader can find themselves in.

We cannot emphasis enough that when it comes to your personal reputation prevention is better than cure.

Please keep this in mind as you delve into the following three unspoken sacrifices of high profile women:

1.    Your market ALWAYS wants more

There are two elements to consider: the quantity and quality of demand.

The more ‘in-demand’ you become, the higher the demand becomes – regardless of how full or empty your cup is at any given time. It can often be relentless and how you manage your presence on a consistent basis can make or break your credibility. Once credibility is lost, it’s extremely hard to gain back.

Being a true ‘market leader’ means having such deep and rich expertise that you have the ability to predict what’s coming up next and position yourself to pioneer it – while the rest of the world is still deciding what to focus on. Your market will come to expect this standard from you – and will want more of it. This means learning that your movement isn’t about you – it’s about digging deeper to serve and add value to your market.

2.   The higher the profile, the higher the stakes

Becoming the go-to brand goes far beyond the number of followers you accumulate, but the bigger and more credible the platform, the further the reach, the higher the stakes.

Many women make the critical mistake of assuming that their public personal brand is simply their personal life on a public platform. This leads to them sharing far more than their market needs to know and far less of value, lessening the impact of their movement. There is and needs to be a space created between your personal and professional lives at this level.

It doesn’t mean you can’t bring your true self to your work (highly recommended) but understanding how to build deep and meaningful connections with your market whilst holding the appropriate space and authority between you is vital.

It's also important to critically and strategically assess the kinds of collaborations, affiliations, connections and relationships you nurture. It’s common that the more well-known and influential a woman becomes, the more commodified her brand is and the more personally lonely she can feel. She can also experience a certain level of judgement while carving the necessary boundaries.

The way you go about creating and executing your work can have significant impacts for those invested in it; your fans, clients and industry as a whole. As they say, it takes a life time to build a brand and a mere second to destroy it.

The ideal formula for successfully managing your connections depends on your context in the market.

3.   The criticism of your work becomes personal

Consistently getting better results than anyone else in your industry is a non-negotiable standard for go-to brands. Achieving it requires incredible investment and unwavering commitment in the face of increasingly intense levels of public scrutiny.

For women, criticisms can quite often be deeply personal and rooted in gender stereotypical bias which left unmanaged after a prolonged period of time can be exhausting and dispiriting.

In the modern world it’s incredibly easy for your message to be needlessly distracted by unnecessary ‘noise.’ Developing the kind of rock solid certainty and disposition to operate with and effectively respond to such personal criticism can mean the difference between you guiding and building a credible movement and being eaten alive by your market.

Shevonne Joyce teaches women the secrets of how to be the true go-to brand in their industry and create businesses that are as successful on the inside as they appear on the outside. For a confidential conversation, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
Women are utilising ‘I need to check with my husband’ as a way to say no in a sales conversation

Unless you’ve been living under 20 rocks, you have more than likely heard about the #payforprogress campaign. If, on the off chance, you have just emerged from under 20 rocks and are currently staggering around adjusting to the sunlight, here’s an explanation.

The #payforprogress campaign is designed to help business and government implement aligned action to eradicate the economic inequality of women. There are several phases of research planned in the future covering various aspects of the issue at hand, however the first phase has been dedicated to the economic disadvantage of women in business.

As part of the campaign, we’ve been talking to many business owners, multiple of who (both male and female) have reported that women in business ‘frequently’ say they ‘need to check’ with their husbands before making a purchasing decision.

On face value, women saying they need to speak with their husband about purchasing decisions seems like an unsurprising statement in the current climate. The facts tell us that women are economically disadvantaged over a life time for various reasons and are therefore, more than likely to be financially dependent on others. If you'd like a copy of our upcoming white paper that discusses the research around this in more detail, please let us know. However, for the purpose of this article, let's say that assumption can very quickly cloud facts.

The statistics floating around about purchasing decisions vary. Some sources estimate that women make between 70-90% of purchasing decisions and that the majority of women identify themselves as the ‘primary shopper.’ To the contrary, other studies suggest women and men disagree on who is responsible for consumer decision making.

A study by NAB looked into the purchasing behaviour of Australian men and women. Head of Behavioural and Industry Economics, Dean Pearson, concluded that:

“Men and women are clearly both quite important, but their areas of influence are very different. On the balance women probably have greater influence in overall financial decision making.”

With this in mind, we were very interested in reports that women were indicating they needed their  husbands permission before purchasing, so we put the question to the interwebs:

“Women in business with male partners or husbands, do you feel that you have to ask their permission before spending money on yourself or your business (outside of ‘essentials’)?”

35 women responded and the results were interesting:

  • 60% of respondents said ‘no, never’ – they never felt the need to ask their male partner or husbands permission
  • Approximately a quarter of women said they sometimes did, with a few women giving context that both they and their male partners discuss big ticket items with each other
  • The remaining women confirmed that they ‘always’ or ‘often’ asked permission

What came next was most interesting - a few women openly confirmed they use ‘checking with’ their husband as an excuse to exit a sales conversation in circumstances where they had a sales conversation imposed on them (ie. Door to door salespeople), the sales person wasn’t taking no for an answer or they felt otherwise pressured to make a decision. One respondent said it was a shame people believed it to be true.

Seeking responses from a small population of women is not scientifically conclusive by any means, but, combined with other data, it does open intriguing possibilities to further explore.

It’s clear and reasonable that different relationships will have varying decision-making dynamics. It’s also reasonable that there are times when both partners in a relationship will discuss finances and purchasing decisions with each other. However, how many women are potentially saying they need to check with their husbands to exit a sales conversation – and in doing so, perpetuating the idea that their male partners maintain control of the finances? The confirmation that some women feel the need to give the impression that their husband has the final say feeds into the gender stereotype that men’s decisions hold more weight than women’s – that is, “men’s decisions are final.”

What can entrepreneurs take away from this?

Whilst at this stage we're unsure how widespread the use of 'checking with husband' means no is, it's important not to ignore that it's come up and be open to exploring possibilities taking everything into consideration. A great place to start is reflecting on your marketing and sales approaches: 

1.    Sales conversations are not about you selling

The hard sell is dead for a reason so instead of trying to sell to your customers, understand that the sales conversation is about helping them to make the right buying decision for them – even if that’s not with you.

This idea is contrary to many who say your goal is to make the customer say yes. Of course, in business you want as many ‘yes’s’ as possible, however pushing for a ‘yes’ leads to more ‘no’s.’

Enabling a customer to feel empowered in the conversation creates less pressure and more trust which helps you both navigate it more openly together - including any barriers they may have to buying.

2.   Respect a woman’s decision-making authority

Understand that from the moment you create a product or service, through to marketing, selling and delivering, it’s more than likely women hold equal decision-making weight. Never underestimate their influence in purchasing decisions – regardless of whether they are buying cupcakes, finance or lawn mowers.

3.   A woman’s decision is final

Humans are not always black and white, therefore learning to understand what they’re actually saying instead of what they’re literally saying is very important. For example, being able to distinguish the difference between when a potential client is saying, ’no’, ‘I’m unsure’ and ‘not yet’ is crucial in any sales conversation.

The last thing you want to do is take someone’s definite ‘no’ as another angle to try and get a ‘yes.’ In this scenario you are focusing more on your need for a ‘yes’, than the buyers need. A potential customer should never feel like they need to ‘escape’ a sales conversation. This takes the conversation back to hard selling (refer to point 1).

Shevonne Joyce is a humanist who is obsessed with the business of changing the world. She works with female entrepreneurs to help them build brands that are as successful on the inside as they look on the outside. Shevonne is also dedicated to changing the systems, structures and business practices that prevent women from reaching their potential. If you'd like to chat, please get in touch here.

Shevonne Joyce
Consumer activism is officially here (and customers are prepared to vote with their money)

Consumers in the modern world have more free access to information and news spreads faster than ever before. This, combined with a 24 hour news cycle, means they can more readily assess the performance of the brands they buy from and how that aligns to what they value.

‘Belief driven’ buyers are an increasing trend, with 57% of global buyers choosing to buy from or bin a brand based on how that brand demonstrates commitments on issues the consumer cares about. How issues are prioritised depends on the consumer segment, however ethical business practices, such as closing gender pay gaps, being environmentally conscious and impacts to humanity are increasingly important.

With the rise of social media, consumers have also begun to realise their collective power to call brands and leaders to account. This combined with the trend of consumers trusting their peers more than brands makes social and digital conversation even more crucial to business success. Recent examples include Barnaby Joyce’s conduct, the revelations of the banking royal commission, Billabong and the World Surf League gender pay outrage, Sainsbury’s artist advert, Tony Robbins and the #metoo scandal, Cricket Australia ball tampering, the growing discontent about violence against women and sporting codes, criticism of milk processors and farmgate milk prices and the gun reform debate in the US.

Consumer trust in brands is fraying and is it any wonder?

Many big brands who have relied heavily on market domination as a way to maintain marketshare whilst being complacent about how they are demonstrating their values are ripe for disruption. Recent examples illustrate how it’s no longer good enough to have commitment statements touting the values you aim to achieve or support if your business practices are not aligned.

For example, sponsoring international women’s day events whilst still having a gender employee pay gap in your business or asking women to work for free is simply unacceptable to the modern consumer. They view it as ‘lip service’ and disengage quickly. On the flip side, brands who pre-emptively review and re-align their practices to their commitments and consumer sentiment will gain stronger consumer trust. Smart brands have already started doing this. Take, for example, Medibank who recently pulled its carbon polluting and tobacco investments, because it didn’t align to their ‘commitment to the health and wellbeing’ of customers.

People recognise that money is power and they are expecting brands to invest in a socially conscious way. This push towards ethics and transparency is being driven by the millennial consumer. Interestingly, whilst younger consumers are realising their power to publicly call businesses to account and millennials are the master of this, they’re also more likely to simply change brands without warning or communication. The ‘silent boycott’, as it has been dubbed, presents serious risk to brands who are reactionary as opposed to focused on implementing a long-term vision their customers care about.

How damaging is public scandal to a brand in the modern world?

It depends on a number of factors including the type of scandal and how the business or leader responds to it, however it can irrefutably go south very, very quickly – particularly if the consumer senses the brand is being disingenuous in their management of it. Brands are far better off being proactive than reactive.

Although increasingly less tolerant of brands who miss the mark on important social issues, it’s not to suggest that consumers expect brands to be completely immune to error. People generally understand that human beings are not perfect and sometimes good intentions can get lost in translation. The days of making an apologetic statement, re-affirming your ‘commitments’ and waiting for it all to blow over have officially come to an end, however. The adage that ‘action speaks louder than words’ is reverberating louder amongst consumers than ever before. Brands are subsequently expected to own their mistakes and genuinely set about fixing them.

What can businesses do to ensure they don’t become the latest casualty to consumer activism?

1.      Appreciate the power consumers hold and how consumer sentiment influences buying behaviour

A brand is only as powerful as the customers who buy from it – never be complacent about that. Think carefully about your ideal buyers, their pain points and the issues they care about. Show how much you care through implementation instead of chit chat.

2.    Identify the long-term value you can add to customers rather than what you can get out of them

Think beyond the every day. How can you actively invest in making the future brighter for your customers? Align your efforts and offering accordingly – they will reward you with loyalty.

3.    Review your commitments and business practices regularly

Prioritise doing business in a way that actively demonstrates your values and never sway from this standard.

4.    Evaluate where you are putting your money

It’s more important than ever to ensure you have adequate checks in place to evaluate where your money is going and how that impacts the issues your consumers care about – think suppliers, sponsorships, affiliations and investments.

If you have any further questions or need help with reviewing the way you do business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
Gender equality progression requires men and women at the table
 This image is courtesy of Catherine Deveny's IWD Facebook post. You can see the post  here .

This image is courtesy of Catherine Deveny's IWD Facebook post. You can see the post here.

Money and power are essential elements to any global leader who wants to have significant impact on the world. In many ways money equals power and this could not be more true than in the gender equality mission.

Women have been rising up stronger than ever before to #pressforprogress across a number of important issues including economic equality, equal opportunity in business and at work, women’s health, sexual harassment and domestic violence to name a few. In some ways we’ve made significant progress and yet, truth be told, it seems we have not progressed much, if at all, from 1975.

How can this be so?

We’ve had the first female politicians and prime ministers, first CEO’s, legislative changes to protect women against sexual harassment and the first female politician to breastfeed in parliament without being ejected. Yet, the conversations we’re having now are seemingly the same conversations women were having back then.

Whilst here in Australia we’re proud to say we’ve had our first female prime minister, Julia Gillard, the truth is she was ridiculed, harassed and subjected to extreme sexism, misogyny and treated by many in power as an absolute joke simply because she’s a woman. A woman who held one of the most prestigious positions in our country was mocked on a menu item for a fundraiser of the opposition party, described as, ‘Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – Small Breasts, Hugh Thighs and A Big Red Box.' 

You would hope that by 2018 we would’ve put all of that behind us, but alas, leaders like Jacinda Arden continue to field more criticism about their appearance, what they’re wearing and their reproductive system than what they are achieving in office. It’s one thing to put a woman in a position of leadership and another to treat her with the dignity and respect she deserves in that role. It’s one thing to say you support the equality of women and then another to take legitimate steps to close the gender pay gap.

We’ve managed to progress so much, yet not much at all because here we are in a climate where lots of conversations are happening about how we all support the equality of women, yet:

  • Women in business are still being asked to work for for-profit organisations for free (or in exchange for ‘exposure’, ‘networking opportunities’, ‘wine’ and ‘prestige’), including while speaking at events about how to close the pay gap
  • Women are still dealing with questions about their reproductive status at funding meetings
  • Women are reportedly retiring in Australia with half the superannuation of men and are 2.5 times more likely to retire in poverty than men, yet closing the pay gap is a voluntary action for organisations in Australia
  • Women are still largely financially dependent on men, not only because they earn less but also because for those with children childcare costs are exorbitant
  • Outspoken female leaders are still being harassed just like Julia Gillard was and trolled to the point of exhaustion, fielding rape and death threats on the daily – Clementine Ford and Rosie Batty are both examples of that
  • We’re still living in a world where a female can be fired for flipping President Trump the bird and yet, he is still President after bragging about grabbing women’s pussies

The truth of it is we’re still in essence fighting the same fight because when it comes to money and influence, men still hold the power.  Women can try to fight against that power, but the power balance remains because the systems, structures and business practices that contribute to this power were designed to progress men into roles that meet outdated definitions of what 'male success' looks like. 

It’s not to say the work of women has been in vain or is finished, in fact the opposite is true, but the key to true progression now is sharing the balance of power. That is, women and men working together to implement massive aligned action. Action that requires us as a society to put our money where our mouth is so that women can eventually share the power balance. 

This arrangement benefits both women and men. As an example, the current Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, put the question forward recently about how we support men into more part time work. The answer is creating systems that betters the progression of women. The more women who can successfully participate in work the way they want to, the more men who can do the same.

It's time for action.

Shevonne Joyce is a Mentor, Speaker and Social Commentator who works with female entrepreneurs to position them as the go-to brand.

Shevonne Joyce
If you truly value the success of women in business, stop asking them to speak for free
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Imagine being offered a job with a profitable company. The job is your dream job; they’ve hired you as an industry expert based on the significant work you’ve done in your field and the unique skills you individually bring. Working with them presents a once in a lifetime opportunity that many others can only dream of. It means you’ll have to sacrifice other paid work and time away from your other clients, business and family to deliver exceptional results.

Imagine then being told that you won’t be paid for your work, but hired in exchange for ‘prestige’, ‘exposure’ and ‘networking opportunities’, while they make money off what you offer. After all, you may (or may not) generate other leads through this (leads which may or may not eventuate into paid work).

Who would ever accept or expect to go to work and not be paid for what they do?

This is an everyday reality for female entrepreneurs who are being asked and expected to work for free in a variety of ways, including speaking at events. Often, these very events are aimed at advancing women in business and leadership and are charging patrons thousands of dollars a ticket to soak up the brilliance of said speakers. These speakers share their time, thought leadership, IP, skills, experience, qualifications and all the value they have that deserves payment, without any. Female entrepreneurs whose very presence at these events attracts ticket sales for the organiser and contributes significantly to the credibility of the event.

It’s important to clear up that this isn’t to suggest giving generously isn’t valuable. There are many charities, causes, campaigns and not for profit initiatives that women love volunteering with and for. In fact, on the whole women do more unpaid work in our society than men, which undoubtedly impacts on their financial independence over a life time. What you’re happy to generously offer versus what you expect payment for will be individual.

What we’re specifically discussing here is the precedent of for-profit organisations not paying their speakers. While some for-profit events do fairly remunerate their speakers, the volume of those who ask and expect women to speak for free is so pervasive it’s astounding.

Reasons given for not paying speakers include:

  • ‘Our policy is not to pay speakers’ - without any valid explanation
  • ‘You will gain exposure and opportunities to network with other industry experts and may generate leads by speaking’ - all benefits that are value adds of any work you do, as opposed to tradable commodities
  • We don’t have the budget to pay you’ – when it’s not the speaker’s responsibility to volunteer their time in order to accommodate budgets. It’s the organiser’s responsibility to ensure they have the appropriate budget to fund the execution of the event (including hiring the talent they need to make it a success)

There have been instances where those who ask for payment are struck off the list in favour of those who will work without it. It’s created yet another environment where women are disempowered in their negotiating power because it’s become an ‘accepted norm’ that the choice is either do it for free or miss out.

The financial burnout in business is real and is a leading cause of business failure, driven by this narrative that women should be happy to work for free. Women who are already paid unequally to men, who are still in some cases financially dependent on men and who are far more likely to report their fees and value being questioned. Women who are again relegated into accepting that we must forgo economic equality to work ‘for the love of it’ and ‘the greater good’ of everyone, but ourselves.

This isn’t to suggest that men aren’t also accepting unpaid speaking opportunities, however there have been examples of women speaking for free when male speakers were paid for the same opportunity. This particular discussion is with reference to the success of women particularly in building financially sustainable businesses and the barriers that impact that.

It’s time for us all to re-evaluate and each and every business, leader and woman herself has the power to contribute.

Every time we ask women to work for free or create environments where the negotiating power of women is diminished, every time we as women accept working for free and every time we buy tickets to for-profit events that don’t pay their speakers, we contribute to holding women back from true economic equality.

The more women who stand up and ask to be paid their worth in business, the more businesses and leaders who pay women what they’re worth, the sooner being asked to work for free (or in exchange for ‘wine’, ‘products’, ‘tickets’, ‘exposure’) will become unacceptable.

Shevonne Joyce is a Mentor, Speaker and Social Commentator who positions women as the go-to brand in their industry.

Shevonne Joyce
The Facebook dilemma is fundamentally the result of a flawed business model
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Without a doubt, Facebook has taken over the world and one man terrifyingly stands in control of approximately 2 billion people: Mark Zuckerberg. It’s a journey fraught with intrigue, dawning realisation and many critical mistakes, as the world has grappled with the growth of the internet and subsequently, the impact of social media.

Whilst Facebook has experienced unparalleled levels of success and world domination, expanding into other rival social media platforms, it’s ultimately struggled to evolve in a truly meaningful way for its customers (including individual users and brands). This begins from the very inception of the university directory style website with a flawed business model.

Much discussion and analysis is underway about the future of Facebook and how it will diversify by expanding into other technologies (eg. Virtual reality and artificial intelligence), but what can we learn from its journey thus far? There is much to learn and consider, however here are four critical mistakes for business owners to consider:

1.      Not thinking big enough in the beginning

Facebook failed to adequately design a business model that would support and sustain its rapid growth whilst truly considering its impact on the wellbeing and lives of people.

To be fair, the rise of the internet and social media was unprecedented at the time and Facebook is not the only contender who has struggled with this issue (the media industry and other ‘no pay’ user platforms are also bearing war wounds). Much of this journey has been learning from both sides of the fence about what this digital existence means to us all.

Regardless, not thinking big enough from the beginning is one of the biggest mistakes any business can make. It led Facebook to offer its platform for free for users and then businesses and brands, before realising in hindsight that it was nearly impossible to fund the growth and expansion of the venture on sweet nothing.

2.    Offering something for free and then asking people to pay for it

The result has been many ‘band aid’ fixes along the way, including manipulating algorithms to herd businesses into paying, which naturally was met with criticism.

It’s not that the opportunity Facebook offers businesses and brands isn’t valuable, it’s that one of the biggest business mistakes you can make is to offer something for free and then ask people to pay for it. This is because by offering it for free, you set people’s expectations that the value of the thing is free. They will then go to extreme lengths to ensure they don’t pay more than what said thing is worth in their mind.

Where else would we ever expect to advertise for free?

Facebook would have been better off creating a scaled subscription style model for both individuals and businesses (dependent on the business size) and offering a free trial, then supplementing its income through advertising. Yes, user numbers would have grown at a slower pace, however it would have been more sustainable. While Facebook has been pioneering products and services that were new to users, the reality of business is that people will pay when what you offer is designed to solve important problems for them – and you know how to effectively market it.

3.    Becoming reliant on advertising revenue

Facebook has become so reliant on advertising revenue that it has had to continue manipulating algorithms to the dissatisfaction of individuals and brands.

In the face of constantly changing goal posts, brands have resorted to pushing out low quality content in exchange for any kind of organic growth and exposure or revenue through ‘clicks’. Individuals have become increasingly annoyed about ads being forced into their newsfeeds. Again, expectations in the beginning were set that people used Facebook to connect with friends and family, not be sold to every 5 minutes. There’s nothing wrong with selling to people, provided it’s done in a way that adds value to them and it meets their expectations. For Facebook, it moved the platform away from the opportunity to genuinely connect with brands on the customers terms to losing control over what penetrates their newsfeed.

It also seems users were also not aware of how Facebook uses data. A recent example of this that has been met with global outrage is the way user data was harvested during the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It's raised a number of questions about user privacy in the digital age.

The cold hard truth of it is that business exists to make money, however if you are not creating meaningful brands and experiences for your buyers, your audiences will turn off. User sentiment about your brand in the modern world is critical, no matter how big you get. The same is true for Facebook.

4.    Failing to adequately respond to customers

There have been many examples of Facebook’s seemingly inconsistent policies on appropriate user content and like with many other social media platforms, it has struggled to adequately respond to social media trolling and the penetration of fake news.

Users have complained that it’s extremely difficult to get in touch with Facebook to appeal decisions and while managing communication with such a high volume of users is undoubtedly difficult, with all the technologies available to it, a focus on customer experience and being proactive to resolve issues would have created a deeper sense of trust between users and the platform.

From a business perspective, many brands and organisations have felt in a constant state of disarray as they try to keep up with the constant changes in the way the platform operates. Some businesses, including media, have criticized Facebook for not operating in a consultative way for the benefit of all industries.  This demonstrates that it’s one thing to create a global platform, but another entirely to ensure you engage stakeholders in a mutually beneficial way.

Evolution in business is necessary to ensure survival in the face of a rapidly progressing modern world, however its crucial not to lose sight of your end user and your purpose. Many large organisations have disappeared into the abyss by becoming complacent about this. Facebook has become a world superpower and wildly profitable, but at what cost?

Shevonne Joyce is a Mentor, Speaker and Social Commentator who who enables the success of women through working with them to position them as the go-to brand in their industry.

Shevonne Joyce
Leaders take note: the era of leadership transparency has arrived
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A significant shift in leadership is afoot and it’s begun to impact leaders worldwide, spanning government, business, media and entrepreneurship. It’s been brewing for some time and we are now starting to see how it’s unraveling leadership as we’ve always known it and demanding more of our leaders.

Trust in global leadership is fast eroding in 2018. 2017 was described by the Edelman Trust Barometer (Edelman) as a ‘global implosion of trust’ and a ‘trust crisis.’ 2018 has been described as the ‘battle for truth.’ It’s no secret that confidence in executives, CEO’s, politicians and our media is wavering, as is our trust in large corporations. People are now indicating they consider their peers more credible than their leaders.

What’s driving this plummet in leadership trust?

There’s been a few catalysts that have created the perfect storm, namely the rise of the internet, the influence of the millennial workforce and the diversification of leadership pools. This has fundamentally resulted in a saturation of examples of conflict between what leaders say and what they do, or what they say and what the data says.

There are many examples of this across various industries

The most recent including the criticism of Barnaby Joyce defending the values of ‘traditional marriage’ during the Australian marriage equality debate whilst simultaneously engaging in an alleged affair with a subordinate – a matter compounded by the decision of mainstream media not to report during his New England by-election, the unprecedented amount of male leaders being called to account over alleged sexual harassment through the #metoo movement and some banks claiming they care about helping their customers to achieve their financial goals whilst questions have been raised about how their products actually benefit them.

Understandably, this has created cognitive dissonance amongst the masses. Disillusionment and dissatisfaction is growing and the nature of the modern world means it will likely get worse for leaders who fail to adapt.

The power of instant access

Notwithstanding the rise of ‘fake news’ in the modern world, we have faster access not only to the rest of the globe, but also to vast amounts of credible knowledge, data and technology. Our ability to acquire, analyse and make informed decisions on this basis is influencing decision making. Once our leaders were the sole source of data relied upon. Now we have the ability to source independent information and viewpoints to comparatively assess leadership credibility.

With the rise of social media and in turn, personal branding, we now have instant access to our leaders and a peak into their world. This has been both a benefit and detriment in many cases, the latter where effective branding strategy is lacking.

Trust is a precious commodity to be earned

We’re moving away from the hierarchical ‘tell-do’ relationship with leaders and evolving into partnerships. Millennials, in particular, are expecting our leaders to be experts in their field and to partner with talent utilising a mixture of nurture and mentorship. At a deeper level of personal branding, trust is no longer automatically given and now has to be earned by leaders. We’re already in a place where personal branding is the number one determiner between whether clients will choose to buy from you, voters to vote for you or employees to work with you. However, more than who you say you are, they want substance to prove it; the connection between what you say and what you actively do. Your personal character matters in leadership.

Diversification through independent platforms

Despite the fact that the diversification of leadership has been slower than watching grass grow, there are now more minority groups entering leadership in various ways across government, business and entrepreneurship. We are seeing a bigger variety of leaders with different backgrounds, cultures, experience and other demographics taking centre stage, some through their own independent platforms.

Now that the changing tides are here, how do leaders differentiate themselves?

Leaders who succeed in building genuine brands on a foundation of transparency and trust will be the only leaders who will achieve credibility moving forward.

It’s not enough to toot on about your values or write impassioned commitment statements about the problems you’re ‘aiming’ to solve. People want more. They want leaders to demonstrate how you are practically delivering on your promises and to see the measurable progress you’re making towards achievable outcomes.

The age of transparency is upon us. The single most important attribute of any leader moving forward will be leading with transparency. Soon, there will be nowhere left to hide.

Shevonne Joyce
The dangerous new trend of 'trial by social media.'
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There seems to be a concerning new trend emerging of ‘trial by social media.’ There's a couple of ways this can occur.

The first is where someone stands accused of a wrong doing and the alleged victim writes a public post, complete with photos and publicly names and shames the person. The issue is that this can occur without being reported to police or undergoing due process. There's been examples where people have allegedly had their Facebook photos stolen, fake profiles created and suddenly they find themselves in the centre of a social media storm being accused of things they did not say.

The second is in the case of this brilliant Ted Talk called 'how one tweet can ruin your life' by Jon Ronson, a person shares something that the world collectively loses their mind over. Suspending all judgement about them personally, the point is somewhere along the way they thought it was appropriate. Perhaps they made a serious mistake or misjudgement. Perhaps they are seriously misinformed. Regardless, the issue is often the severity of public response. There's a difference between constructively adding to a discussion and hunting people down within an inch of their lives.

The result is becoming a licence for everyone to grab their virtual pitch forks and engage in a public, mass witch hunt and in some cases, taking glee out of destroying another human being.

This is particularly relevant for personal branding and even more so for women who are positioning themselves as authorities in their field. As a person of influence, what you say matters. What you don't say matters. What you share matters. It can have wide reaching impacts for everyone involved and it's of paramount importance that you are working with someone who can help you effectively manage this.

For women such a mass scale show down usually becomes particularly personal by being accompanied by death and rape threats, or threats to your family.

When as a society did we decide that was acceptable?

Due process exists for a reason. If you're a victim of a crime, or witness something that could constitute a crime, report it to the police. If you see something unacceptable or inappropriate from a business, submit a complaint following the appropriate processes either directly with them or through the appropriate body. If you see one of these mass witch hunts unfolding, stop and think before you share and only share from reputable sources (eg. The police). 

The majority of people don’t get out of bed one day to deliberately harm others, but you just don’t know what you’re inadvertently contributing to that could have life long consequences for people.

Shevonne Joyce has built and monetised a trusted and quality personal brand that spans 60 countries. She works with women to position them as the go-to brand in their industry. If you're ready to become the go-to brand in 2018, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
How a pre-occupation with being positive is damaging to your success
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Everywhere you turn there are discussions about how to be successful. The messages out there in the market in abundance include variations of ‘think positive!’, ‘be fearless!’ and advice on how to gear your mind to greatness by conquering your negative thoughts. Young and old talk about how they achieved success in business or their professional lives through ‘ditching’ their negative mindset.

Whilst mindset is indeed critical for success, this pre-occupation with being positive is inadvertently setting people up to fail. Mainly because as human beings it’s physically impossible for us to achieve the level of endless euphoria we aspire to – at exclusion of all other emotions.

By our very nature we cannot help but be attuned to uncertainty or danger. Unsurprisingly, there are more negative emotions in existence than positive ones. Negative emotions, when functioning as intended, play an important role in helping us analyse our existence and experiences in the world.  They are vital to our survival.

It’s important to preface this conversation with the fact that prolonged depression or anxiety left unchecked can be debilitating to a healthy, functioning life. If you’re experiencing this, please don’t feel like you need to suffer alone and speak with your doctor.

How does society’s obsession with being cultured towards a constant positive state impact the success of women?

 The problem with our unattainable obsession with being positive is that it prevents us from experiencing a legitimate range of emotions in a constructive way. In some cases, women will go to great lengths to avoid, or be seen to avoid, any conflict whatsoever. They can end up on a relentless mission to void negative emotion from their lives completely, instead of learning how it positively contributes to their wellbeing and growth.

In other cases, the emotion they experience will be further compounded by guilt, shame and anxiety about the fact they’re feeling it. This is evidenced when they express a negative emotion, a fear, a worry, an anxiety or in fact anger and then apologise for it. They’ll often say things like, ‘I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I do’, ‘I realise that’s pessimistic’, or ‘I’m sorry for being so negative.’ Often they will also pass judgement about the way they ‘should’ feel as women instead, based on decades of pre-defined social structures and stereotyping.

At a fundamental level, an unhealthy relationship with the spectrum of emotions we feel can lead women to be less satisfied with their success on the whole.

In the modern world, we’re currently undergoing an obsession with ‘re-framing’ negative experiences or emotion, instead of being accepting and comfortable with them as they are. For example, failure as ‘feedback’ and problems as ‘challenges’ or ‘opportunities for growth.’ Whilst these descriptors are, in themselves, representative of the paradox of emotion, the uncomfortable truth is that negative emotion was not designed to feel good.

Failure is not meant to be fun, patience was never meant to be easy, conflict alerts us that there’s a problem to be solved, anxiety tells us there’s something to be wary of. Pain and discomfort can be signals for growth and change – if we didn’t experience them we would never learn, evolve, develop skills or solve problems. Why would we? We’d be comfortable exactly as we are!

On the flip side and in a business context, women who invest in learning about how to utilise their emotions for success demonstrate more resilience. They feel able to build more meaningful relationships, are more likely to try new things and put themselves out there to attract their ideal buyers or chase an opportunity they’d never before dreamed of.

The key to success is not to avoid your feelings, going on in spite of them or to be void of them. It’s about learning your individual emotions, how they impact your patterns of behaviour and how to utilise them for your individual success. Sometimes we are able to do this independently and other times we need professional help and support to achieve it.

A recent example of a client who was experiencing a deeply complex fear of public speaking and public failure. The nature of her business meant this problem had prevented her from being able to achieve the level of success she was capable of – that is, to be the go-to brand. She described the anxiety she felt and then went on to pass judgement about her anxiety. We explored it together and the question was posed, “What do you think your anxiety is trying to tell you?” In this case, her anxiety was telling her there were skills to be developed. Her underlying assumption had been that everyone just instinctively ‘knew’ how to publicly speak without prior preparation or skill.

The minute we’re able dissolve our judgement for our feelings, and instead understand them and accept them, we’re able to move past the fact we feel it and on to what we need to do to solve our problem. With client in question, this included supporting our work together with a quality public speaking course that was tailored to her specific needs.

Yes, this experience is individual and won’t ring true for everyone, but it’s a good example of how utilising a negative emotion and experience to help solve a problem can lead you to the success you seek.

Shevonne Joyce has built and monetised a trusted and quality personal brand that spans 60 countries. She works with women to position them as the go-to brand in their industry. If you're ready to become the go-to brand in 2018, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
4 female leaders who have nailed their personal brand in 2017
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Personal branding has been around since the rise of the internet, but is only truly being understood now as we come to terms with our digital footprint on the world. Through the power of social media, there are more women than ever before who are trying to gain a spotlight in a crowded marketplace. As it stands, everyone has a platform, anyone can use it, but not everyone knows the powerful personal branding strategies that enable them to build a movement with maximum impact.

The people we lead are now demanding more human to human connection with leaders they trust and relate to both online and in person. In the modern business world, the number one differentiator between you and your competitors is personal branding. Effective personal branding goes beyond great first impressions and into how you position yourself as an authority in your market. Now, more than ever, trust is no longer automatically given to leaders, it must be earned. Make no mistake that business owners who don’t nail their personal brand in this climate will be left behind.

Who are the female leaders taking the crown for nailing their personal brand in 2017?

We’ve considered many women across entrepreneurship, politics, organisational leadership and celebrities and came up with a list of 4 stand-outs. 2017 has definitely seen an empowerment of women like never before. 2018 presents much potential for many more leaders to grow and refine their personal brand and reap the rewards of their legacy.

The below list are the kind of women we can truly aspire to. All unique, bold, and outspoken, with a demonstrated genuine care for the missions they are pioneering.

4. P!nk

Alicia Beth Moore, known as P!nk, has been unapologetically pioneering the empowerment of women since the day she stormed our music charts in the year 2000. Against strong criticism, P!nk has refused to conform to the typical mould expected of female artists, began to re-define beauty and became one of the worlds’ top earning female artists.

In 2017, she broke the internet with her acceptance speech of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award at the VMAs with a story about how she taught her daughter about the true definition of beauty through a presentation of androgynous celebrities. It has been described as not only ‘powerful’ but a ‘revolution’ against body image and beauty standards.

P!nk has managed to create a real, bold, raw and powerful personal brand that connects deeply with many on a global scale and positions her as an unstoppable and respected female leader for audiences beyond her music fan base.

3. Jacinda Ardern

The newly elected New Zealand Prime Minister has given the world of global politics a refreshing breath of air. In a world where trust and confidence in politicians is at an all-time low, Jacinda has entered centre stage and, so far in her short time filling the shoes, is absolutely nailing her personal brand.

Jacinda has achieved that perfect mix of being a warm, down to earth and relatable leader whilst also maintaining presence and certainty. She emanates a genuine care for those she leads and the work she does. Despite still finding her feet and growing into her brand, she is taking good steps towards positioning as a leader who ‘walks her talk.’ The impact of this is clear in the comments people make on social media about feeling like she’s the only leader they’ve ever truly connected to.

She is definitely a key female leader to watch in 2018 and we look forward to seeing how she continues to bloom.

 2. Tracey Spicer

From her humble beginnings and, now claim to fame, as the ‘fainting weather girl’, Tracey Spicer has grown into an outspoken, courageous pioneer who is a hero for many women. With an impressive career in journalism and media, Tracey overcame the imposter syndrome that plagued the early days of her career to be a shining beacon for diversity in media and leadership representation.

She has been at the forefront of many worthwhile causes, most recently as part of the #metoo campaign, exposing sexual harassment and deeply entrenched layers of discrimination in the media industry. Further than that, she’s created the Outspoken Woman masterclass, giving women a platform to use their voice without fear.

Her book ‘Good Girl Stripped Bare’ became a best seller when she challenged the ‘good girl’ syndrome that prevents women from creating the success they’re capable of. Her brand is embedded in all her achievements. Tracey doesn’t do things by halves and is truly an inspiration to many. She represents a rock-solid crusader with an approachable, warm and genuine nature, who loves a good laugh. 

1. Penny Wong

Unassuming Penny Wong has created a legion of strong supporters with her unwavering crusade for human rights, including a more personal charge for marriage equality in 2017.

Penny has been the kind of leader who remained admirably collected and staunch in the face of some outrageous, divisive, uneducated and hurtful perspectives, while respectively fighting back with facts, conviction and common sense.

Her unique ability to demonstrate such strength, whilst also being heart-felt and human has allowed Penny to create a brand that is about the people and for the people, whilst also being fair and considered. She holds other leaders to account, has high standards and her impact on the successful marriage equality vote in Australia is undeniable.

With growing discontent in Australian politics, many have begun calling on Penny to become PM as they see her as a diverse leader who can represent many aspects of modern Australia, and in turn, truly represent the people. We look forward to seeing the great work she does in 2018.

Shevonne Joyce has built and monetised a trusted and quality personal brand that spans 60 countries. She works with women to position them as the go-to brand in their industry. If you're ready to become the go-to brand in 2018, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
3 indicators you're not ready to be the go-to brand
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Many women think they are prepared and ready to become the go-to brand in their industry without truly understanding what it entails. Becoming the go-to brand goes beyond delivering on the basic good standards of business; it requires greatness. The rewards of becoming the go-to brand are many, including making more money, having bigger impact and greater influence over the change you seek to make in the world. This goes beyond being visible and into being newsworthy. This is about being the thought leader of the modern business world.

If you’re wondering whether you’re ready to become the go-to brand in your industry and achieve what you're truly capable of, this article is for you.

There are many tell-tale signs that you’re not ready, however for the purpose of this article we’re going to discuss 3 key indicators, as follows:

1.  Lack of due thought and consideration:

Women who respond, "I don't know" to critical questions are not ready to become the go-to brand. This includes questions around why they think becoming the go-to brand might be the right way forward for them or what they're hoping to achieve with their legacy. It also includes questions around why they think a mentorship program of this nature could be the best option for them or why specifically they're thinking about investing in a particular expert to help them get results.

Becoming the go-to brand is not something to be taken lightly or a decision to be made flippantly. When you're the go-to brand, it comes with great rewards and responsibility; people want answers from you, they want certainty. Imagine if you are being interviewed in the media as the authority in your field and your response to the questions you're asked is, "I don't know"? It would be fatal to your brand. Fatal.

2.  Not being prepared to do the work

Becoming the go-to brand requires big investment for big results – anything worth having in life always does. Women who ask questions like, “Can I outsource the work involved in this to my team?” are not ready to become the go-to brand.

If you’re going to de-value such a critical part of your personal success as a leader in your field, then you are not ready for it.

3.  Those who aren’t prepared to learn the thinking behind the strategies

Becoming the go-to brand isn’t for women who want quick answers, or to engage a mentor to give them advice on the run, or just want four step formulas to follow. What do you learn from mentors who give you answers all the time? How to ask questions, not how to solve problems. Being prepared to learn the thinking behind the strategy is critical for your success as the authority in your field and it’s this kind of thinking that can be applied long after the mentoring has finished for the continued evolution of your brand.

Success is temporary if you're unable to strategically evolve. This is evidenced with entrepreneurs who have success quickly without being willing to learn the critical thinking required to evolve once the hype is over and the world moves on. We are not here for the sprint, we are here for the marathon. All of the most successful brands evolve with the times, are innovative and keep ahead of their market.

Becoming the go-to brand is building success for a lifetime, not for the fad of the moment.

If you are ready to begin the journey of becoming the go-to brand in your industry in 2018, please feel free to get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce
Personal branding myths, busted: it's not all about exposure
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There are many myths and mistakes women make with personal branding. The first is believing that building a powerful personal brand is all about exposure. Here’s a #truthbomb for you: there are plenty of high profile women with all the exposure in the world who are struggling with positioning their personal brand for maximum impact.

Undoubtedly, being visible is an important part of positioning a meaningful personal brand, however without effective strategies in place to have the impact you are seeking, lots of exposure will lead to lots more exposure… And not all exposure is created equal.

At every step of the way, creating a powerful personal brand is about being the leader in your field. Your clients, followers and fans are looking for certainty from you – they want to see the roadmap for the journey you are taking them on. Where certainty is absent, confusion grows and it creates chaos. Not only will a confused market not buy, but they will become quickly disillusioned with your message and seek out other leaders to fill the void. This will impact your ability to achieve the results you’re seeking and to create the change you see possible in the world. Often the key gap between the results you have and those you want are a meaningful personal brand.

Here are the top 3 mistakes high profile women with lots of exposure make with personal branding:

1.      Believing that meaningful personal branding is about building a crowd. It’s about building a movement. A clear, high quality movement that people can align to, aspire to and feel cohesive with. Building a movement requires much sacrifice and investment – it’s about understanding that the purpose at hand is greater than yourself. Many high profile women believe they are building a movement and sacrificing and investing to do so, when in reality, one look at their work reveals, they are building a crowd. Often they’ll have high quantity of followers or fans that aren’t buying from them, or who are liking but not championing. All the best experts know that the number of followers you have is not a quality indicator for the movement you’re truly building.

2.    Thought leadership is more than just publicly sharing your thoughts. Randomly sharing thoughts and feelings without clear strategy on how it contributes to and progresses you towards your purpose and mission is not developing thought leadership. There’s thoughts and then there’s thought leadership. Thought leadership is all about changing thinking, positively disrupting and creating a legacy and lasting change. A selfie whilst griping about how long you had to wait for your coffee, is not thought leadership. It’s griping about how long you had to wait for your coffee. Building a powerful personal brand as a barista, creating a new and unusual blend of coffee and changing the way coffee is produced, consumed and ultimately the relationship a person has to their coffee in their everyday life is thought leadership put into action.

3.    Talking about themselves and blaming clients, followers or fans

This is a hard truth of developing a meaningful personal brand, but it’s an important and necessary truth: your clients, fans and followers do not care about your feelings. It's not because they're not caring people, they are. It's that they care about the results you can achieve for them and the problems you solve that matter to them. A photo of your breakfast isn't relevant to them unless you are creating thought leadership with relation to the breakfast and your post relates to helping them. Truly connecting with your clients, followers and fans means everything has to be for them and about them. A powerful personal brand is merely the vehicle for the purpose and change you’ve set out to achieve. Many high profile women make the mistake of talking about their why and story all the time, instead of talking about their clients why and story. They also make assumptions about what their clients ‘should’ know or understand about them and blame their clients for the results they are getting instead of understanding that the gaps we see in our clients are gaps in ourselves. They are an opportunity to ask how we can add more value to help our clients be their best selves. Ultimately, it's about the change you are creating for the greater good. The most difficult part in all of this is recognising this is a problem for you - many don’t recognise the critical mistake they are making.

4. Cognitive dissonance between an online and in person brand. How many leaders have we been inspired by and yet when we meet them in the flesh, they don't demonstrate the characteristics and values their personal brand is built on? Cohesive online and in person branding is essential, whether speaking at events, working one-on-one with clients or meeting and greeting fans. If you build a personal brand on the basis of empowering women and yet in reality disempower them in every day interactions, that will create conflict between your online and in person brands. The saying is true, it takes a lifetime to build a meaningful brand and one moment to destroy it - ensuring it aligns across the board is critical for success.

It’s true that these problems directly impact your quantifiable results as a personal brand. The good news is that resolving these key problems is possible with an effective strategy and approach. If you’re ready to create a meaningful personal brand that truly connects with your clients, followers and fans for maximum impact, please feel free to reach out.

 

Shevonne Joyce