How YOU are like Shampoo.
Aug - Sept 2008
Personal Branding e-Newsletter
Forward to a Friend
In This Issue
To Tattoo or not to Tattoo? Take our Tat Survey

So, Just How "Unique" is Your Personal Brand... Really?

Some Personal Brand Busters™ Stories From Around the World

Quick Links
How YOU™ are like Shampoo website

Check out our updated "In the News" Webpage

See and read the latest TV, Radio, Print, and Web Coverage
Recent Events 
Author Brenda Bence with Brendon Burchard
Author Brenda Bence recently connected with Marshall Goldsmith in New York City. Marshall, a top executive coach in the U.S., is author of the book "What Got You Here Won't Get You There."
Author Brenda Bence travels extensively to present her unique approach to corporate and personal branding at conferences, conventions, & corporations all across the globe...

If you'd like Brenda to speak or train at an upcoming event, conference, or meeting, please
e-mail her at:
Here's where Brenda has engagements  throughout the remainder of 2008: 
For the week commencing...
September 1: Bangkok, Thailand
September 8:  Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
September 16: Singapore
September 17-19:  Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
September 29: Lincoln, Nebraska
October 6:  Lincoln, Nebraska
October 20:  Bangkok, Thailand
October 27:  Phuket, Thailand
November 3: Singapore
November 10:  Montreal, Canada
December 1: Bangkok, Thailand
February 16:  Phoenix, Arizona
February 23:  San Diego, CA
April 13:  Capetown, South Africa
April 20:  Lincoln, Nebraska
June 1:  Grand Island, Nebraska
June 8:  Rome, Italy
July 13:  Phoenix, Arizona
July 27:  Vail, Colorado
October 5:  Grand Island, Nebraska
November 30: Orlando, Florida

How YOU™are like Shampoo has been making headlines lately!
 News Flash!

Here are a few highlights:

- Macmillan India just purchased the rights to publish and distribute How YOU™ are like Shampoo in seven countries

 - Author Brenda Bence selected as "Top Maven" for Woman's Advantage Calendar 2009 along with a quote from How YOU™are like Shampoo Read more
- New agreement reached with not-for-profit organization Dress for Success: For every copy of How YOU™are like Shampoo sold, $1.00 will be contributed to help disadvantaged women.

Is your personal brand truly "unique?" ...  Does having a tattoo make or break your brand? ... Want to read some funny stories of "Personal Brand Busters™" readers have committed across the world?  If so, you've come to the right place...

To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?
Take our "Tat" Personal Brand Survey
A recent article reports that 24% of Americans ages 18 to 50 have at least one tattoo, and some companies actually have policies requiring employees to cover up body art. 
Interesting, eh?
Since the subscribers to the How YOU™ Are Like Shampoo e-newsletter come from all around the globe, what do you all have to say about that?  How prevalent are tattoos in your country or city?  How are tattoos perceived in your workplace?  What impressions do you think a tattoo makes on an individual's personal brand - does it influence the way others perceive, think and feel about that person?  Is a tattoo a positive or a negative? 
Take a minute to participate in our Tattoo survey - "To Tat or Not to Tat?" and I'll share the results in our next newsletter!
Click here for the Tattoo survey link: 
Until then, all the best to you -
Brenda and Best-Selling Author Jeffrey Gitomer catch up in the U.S.
Brenda Bence
Author of How YOU™ are like Shampoo


So, Just How "Unique" is Your Personal Brand - Really?
At a recent personal branding workshop of mine, a woman named Joan approached me at the end of the program and said, "I've been thinking about it, and the truth is, Brenda:  I'm not really that unique.  What I have to offer isn't distinctive, and my contributions at work aren't fundamentally any different from anybody else's."
I hear this comment often when I speak and train on the topic of personal branding.   So, I responded to Joan the same way I would respond to anyone who tells me that - by reminding Joan that each of us is absolutely unique, and that we are all as distinctive as our individual DNA. Based solely on that one medical aspect alone, it's physically impossible for any two people to be exactly the same (even twins, which I know well since my husband is an identical twin!).  
Since no two people can be the same, then no two people can do the same things. And because our personal brands are communicated by what we do, our personal brands by their very nature must be unique and specific to each of us as individuals, too. It's that simple.
Most people are generally satisfied with that response. But, to some, that's just not compelling enough.
Then, along came my new laptop.
Recently, I came across a completely new way to demonstrate this same point, and it comes from a surprising source - my new Toshiba laptop computer. You see, my new laptop comes equipped with this nifty feature called "biosensor fingerprint identification." The computer has software that records and recognizes my fingerprint then uses that fingerprint as the "password" for accessing my keyboard and hard drive. No other fingerprint will do! It has to be my right index finger, and mine alone.
Is that 007 or what?
I'm totally enamored with this new 'toy' of mine. But, even more, I'm excited by this new daily reminder of how unique each one of us is. Every time I start up my computer with my fingerprint, I think: "No one else on the face of the planet can do that." I'm the only individual out of the 6,000,000,000,000+ people who call this earth home who can simply "swish" a finger over the top of that biosensor and unlock my computer. My husband has tried, a few of our staff members have tried, my friends have tried, but, nope - it's my fingerprint, or it just won't work.
But, of course, this is just one physical dimension of how we are each unique. It's important to remember that no one else has the same exact configuration of talents and attributes as you do either, so it's an impossibility that anyone else can contribute in exactly the same way at work as you do.
If you're stuck in that "I'm not different" frame of mind, you haven't yet recognized what you truly have to offer. And carefully identifying what you have to offer is what personal branding is all about. Defining what makes you uniquely distinctive (beyond just your fingerprints) - uncovering your individual combination of values, passions, and talents - is what unlocks the real YOU™ just like my fingerprint unlocks my computer.
I encourage you to spend the time it takes to really discover your uniqueness. To know exactly what you offer in the work place that no one else can offer is liberating, empowering, and is guaranteed to lead to great career success.  I've seen it time and time again in my coaching practice (and it's covered in Step 1 of the How YOU™ Are Like Shampoo personal branding system).  Yes, it takes some exploration, but once you bring this clarity to the surface, you will absolutely be able to do more, be more, and - yes - earn more on the job.  Guaranteed.
So, thanks to my new computer, I am now more adamant than ever that we need to appreciate just how unique each and every one of us is. The next time someone approaches me and says, "But, Brenda, I'm really not that distinctive!" I'll share with them what my new laptop taught has me about personal branding.
In our next e-newsletter, I'll share suggestions & helpful hints to uncover what your true unique strengths are.
Avoiding International Personal Brand Busters™- Communicating Your Personal Brand Around the Globe
Thanks to all of you who responded to our last e-newsletter request for international Personal Brand Buster™ stories you've experienced while traveling or working in a foreign country.  We got a lot of responses - amazing, thought-provoking - and funny, too!
Here are a few highlights:
- One American reader, CW, made a positive first impression with his bench neighbor as he stopped to rest in a beautiful Hungarian park.  The elderly woman smiled at him as he sat down, and he smiled back, feeling good about his ability to "communicate" in that way.  Then, he crossed his legs, allowing the bottom of his heel to face toward his neighbor.  "My personal brand took a beating at that moment," he says. "She leaned over and slapped the bottom of my shoe!"  Clearly, what CW had done was not acceptable in that part of the world.
It's true that in many cultures around the world, it is very rude to show a person the bottom of your shoe or foot. Think of it as though you are displaying your lowest, filthiest body part. As Martha B, an MSN columnist, says, "An equivalent gesture in the United States might be to flash your bare bottom." How would you feel if someone did that to you while sitting quietly in a park, admiring the flowers or - worse yet - while you were in a business meeting?
Here are a couple other readers' experiences with "Personal Brand Busters™" while traveling internationally:
o    When in France at a business dinner, one American subscriber (DH) picked up his French fries with his fingers.  A real no-no in Europe (Hint:  Traveling in Europe?  Unless told otherwise, try to use a knife and a fork for eating everything.)
o     During a work trip to India, one Swedish native (AH) had an afternoon off, so she decided to visit a nearby temple.  To help keep her cool in the sweltering heat, she changed into a pair of shorts and a sleeveless blouse, and after a long taxi ride to the temple, found out she was refused admittance for not being dressed appropriately. (Hint:  When visiting any holy locations like temples in Asian countries, avoid wearing clothes that reveal bare skin - as a general rule, keep knees and shoulders covered.)
And, yes, having lived and worked overseas for 15+ years, I have had plenty of my own international faux pas, too - including one very recently.  As we were getting ready to do a photo shoot for the front of my next book (personal branding for job seekers), one idea we were considering was to have me give the "thumbs up" sign as a positive. Then, I remembered:  In some countries that gesture means something that should only be said of mushrooms and olives: Stuff yourself!  Since my books sell in many different countries, I couldn't take that chance - and we dropped the idea.
As the world becomes increasingly more 'connected' and people travel internationally more frequently, it is inevitable that we will occasionally commit an international "Personal Brand Buster™."
If you do, one sure-fire thing that I have found to work effectively no matter where you are in the world:  Smile!  People will be forgiving - eventually.  We all make a mistake now and then, so just learn from it, laugh at yourself (I do this a lot), mark it down in your Personal Brand Busters™ journal, and try not to do it again!

Congratulations to our winners - the first 10 subscribers who sent me their cross-cultural personal brand stories.   Each received a free download of the How YOU™ are like Shampoo Personal Brand e-Audit - a great way to fine-tune your personal brand and take a pulse-check of how well your personal brand is doing right now. 
(c) Copyright 2008 Brenda Bence
(c) Copyright 2008 Global Insight Communications LLC 


You have my permission to forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues.

You also have my permission to use these articles on your website or in your own e-newsletter but you MUST include the following: Brenda Bence is founder and President of BDA International, Ltd, a firm which helps companies and individuals build growth-oriented corporate and personal brands. She is author if the book How YOU™ are like Shampoo: The breakthrough Personal Branding System based on proven big-brand marketing methods to help you earn more, do more, and be more at work. For more information, visit or

Copyright (c) 2008 Global Insight Communications, LLC