DECEMBER 2013 - JANUARY 2014
improvement, in a quest to be better professionally or in our personal lives. We attend seminars or workshops for all sorts of reasons: to satisfy our curiosity; learn more; or take that step to becoming closer to your ideal self-image. Some of us invest in procedures or products to improve our appearance; others put in the time and effort to expand the mind, or find new or better ways of doing things.
What people say when you’re not around
Entrepreneur Chit Juan recently addressed a conference of businesswomen about personal branding. “People may say that a brand is something that gets impressed emotionally in your brain, it’s your perception of something. But really, a brand is what people say when you’re not around.” She goes on to talk about how women should think about their “brand core”—something that they really advocate.
“What do you represent? What are you so passionate about?” she asks her audience. “You think it happens by chance? It actually needs a method.” The marketing savvy Juan quickly pointed out how Janet Napoles adversely acquired a brand in two weeks—which isn’t something she’d recommend. “You want to pursue something, and [have] people [understand] that you’re pursuing this advocacy or project or even a business.”
The first step: finding out what you stand for. “Know who you are,” says Juan. “What do you represent? What is your brand? You have to be consistent. It must be your passion …it’s your business and it’s you.” She cites her experience in setting up EchoStore with friends Reena Francisco and Jeannie Javelosa. With their shared passion for creating a sustainable business that would benefit the environment and community, giving hope to women, and working with organizations, they branched out to related store or business concepts like EchoCafe, EchoYoga, EchoMarket, EchoFarm, and Great Women.
“Find your carrot”
“You’ve got to be a positivist,” she enthuses during the open forum. “I always see the glass half-full.” But you must also value having realistic feedback, because it will always keep you grounded. “[E]verybody should find their carrot,” she shares, referring to the inspiration that enables people to wake up with a sense of purpose every morning. “I think everyone should see a carrot in front of them … If you wake up and you don’t see a carrot, you have to look deep inside and find out what you’re waking up for.”
When it comes to consistency, Juan is firm. “You cannot be who you’re not,” she says. One challenge some of the partners faced was the disparity of having a business centered on wellness, and realizing they couldn’t just smoke outside the store. “You cannot be one person at home, and another at the office … Be honest and true in what you believe in,” Juan relates, happily telling the audience that the partners quit smoking to be true to themselves. “Find something that you like, love and be an advocate for,” she advises. Having been steeped in the coffee business for two decades, Juan found herself gravitating toward advocacy, which then resulted in the passion for social entrepreneurship. Networking with other like-minded groups further strengthened that branding.