In This Issue

Nelson Mandela's Legacy - Lessons in Leadership Personal Branding

The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself

Is Money Really the Ultimate Motivator?

2013: How Would YOU "Brand" this Past Year?

Build an executive leadership brand that inspires loyalty and drives employee performance

SBBB book cover
Build a powerful brand that is high on results but low on cost

Book Cover Visual
Brenda's step-by-step personal branding system to take charge of your career. Earn more , do more and be more at work

How YOU(tm) Are Like Shampoo for Job Seekers Front Cover
"One of the most comprehensive books on succeeding at job interviewing I have read." Los Angeles Times

HYALS CG front cover
Master your personal brand to get the job you love - right out of college

The Power of the Platform: Speakers on Purpose
Brenda and other well-known speakers inspire and motive you to live your purpose

Branding Matters

Sign up for our E-Newsletter and receive a f*ree E-Book to help you brand yourself, your company, and your product!

Sign up for Success Tips Here



Read past issues

E-Newsletter Archive
Friend Me!
Subscribe to RSS

Get Regular Updates

View Videos

Watch Brenda's Channel

Follow Me

Access Quick Tips & Tools

Stay In Touch

Stay In Touch

Brenda travels around the world

Where in The World is Brenda Now??

Author, Speaker, Trainer and Coach Brenda Bence travels extensively to present her unique approach to corporate and personal branding at conferences, conventions, & corporations all across the globe...

Airplane taking off

If you'd like Brenda to speak or train at an upcoming event, conference, or meeting, please

e-mail her at:


Contact Us


Brand Development Associates International  


Singapore Contact Information


Phone: +65-6322-1491

Fax:      +65-6322-1493   

6 Battery Road #30-01 

Raffles Place

Singapore 049909


U.S. Contact Information


Phone: +1(312) 242-1830
Fax:      +1(312) 277-9211

7477 West Lake Mead Blvd

Suite 170

Las Vegas, NV 89128



Brenda Bence - Achieving Greater Success for YOU and Your Company Through the Power of Branding
December 2013



As we come to the end of 2013, be sure to take on our fun "Brand 2013 Challenge" (found at the end of this newsletter). Enter your own creative idea of a "brand theme" or "slogan" for the year 2013, and you will earn a chance to win a copy of my latest book: Would YOU Want to Work for YOU™? How to build an executive leadership brand that inspires loyalty and drives employee performance. Winners will receive a copy of the book before it is officially released on January 2, 2014! (You can also find out more about my new book by reading below.)


This month's newsletter begins by paying homage to the late Nelson Mandela, arguably one of the greatest country leaders in the past century - and someone who built an impactful leadership personal brand throughout his lifetime. I share some of Mandela's key principles for leadership success - principles that reflect the powerful legacy Mandela leaves behind for us all.


Also, as year-end "bonus time" rolls around for many companies, I ask an important question:  "Is money really the ultimate motivator?" Take a quiz to find out what truly motivates YOU™ most (and, if you are leading others, it's a great quiz to share with direct reports, too!)


The BDA team and I wish you a wonderful year-end and a grand entry into 2014! I look forward to staying in touch throughout the coming year.


All the best, and here's to YOU™!


Brenda Bence signature
Brenda Bence



Nelson Mandela's Legacy - Lessons in Leadership Personal Branding


If I asked you to name the top country leaders of the past 100 years, no doubt Nelson Mandela's name would be close to the top. To honor his recent passing, I thought it would be a good time to resurrect a Time magazine

interview published a few years ago in which Mandela outlined eight leadership principles that he used to build his distinguished career - and his very powerful leadership personal brand - as an activist and politician. While you may find other principles among the eight that apply to you, we'll focus today on two and how they can help you build a more powerful leadership personal brand at work.


Principle #1:


"Lead from the back - and let others believe they are in front. The trick of leadership is allowing yourself to be led too. The chief's job, Mandela said, was not to tell people what to do but to form a consensus. 'Don't enter the debate too early,' he used to say."


Mandela advocated a democratic, participative leadership style. While there might be times when you have to use an authoritarian style and make a fast - and sometimes lonely - decision, the majority of the time, it makes sense to include direct reports in the decision-making process. After all, why did you hire them in the first place?


Great leaders know that they, too, are growing and learning every day on the job - even from those who are in subordinate positions. So, build your leadership personal brand by (1) allowing others to have a say in decisions, and (2) getting clear on when you need the expertise of others in order to make the most informed choices.


Principle #2:


"Nothing is black or white. Life is never either/or. Decisions are complex, and there are always competing factors. To look for simple explanations is the bias of the human brain, but it doesn't correspond to reality. Nothing is ever as straightforward as it appears."


This is an important reminder for all of us in every aspect of life - both at work and at home. It's fundamental to success to be able to see the nuances in any business situation, whether it involves launching a new product, dealing with a challenging employee, managing a tough boss, etc.


The mind naturally wants to categorize everything in black or white terms, so most of us have to constantly remind ourselves to stop and look at all aspects of a situation. Otherwise, it's easy to fall victim to making decisions based on tunnel-vision, and that can lead to costly mistakes. If you point out nuances and contradictions to your team, they will begin to see the situation multi-dimensionally as well, and you will make smarter decisions.


Want a stronger leadership personal brand? Follow Mandela's example, and try applying these leadership principles on the job.


Here is a link to the entire article:


The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself

Want to create a powerful leadership brand for yourself at work? 
Then, the most important question to consider is ... 

Would YOU want to work with YOU?
Well....would you?

Think about it... what would it be like to be your colleague? Your subordinate? Your boss?


These are questions I've asked during thousands of hours of coaching more than 700 leaders from over 60 different nationalities. And as a result, I uncovered distinct patterns, particularly when it comes to leading others: My clients consistently faced the same 15 challenges. And these challenges had a big impact on their abilities to build the kind of leadership brand they wanted for themselves - the type of brand that would help them reach the highest heights in their professions.


That's what's behind the content and the title of my latest book:




To read an excerpt of the book, please click here.

This book is the culmination of years spent shadowing and coaching executives. It reveals what works and what doesn't when it comes to leading and influencing others on the job. Through fascinating, real-life case studies, I share the 15 most damaging people-leadership behaviors that I regularly see clients committing and provide dozens of practical and easy tips, tools, and techniques that you can apply immediately to correct them.


I'm excited to announce that the book will be officially released on January 2, 2014, and it has already received two book awards and fantastic endorsements by dozens of acclaimed leaders, including management guru, Ken Blanchard (author of The One Minute Manager), and America's #1 executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith (author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There)! I am extremely grateful for this strong early support of the book.


Would YOU Want to Work for YOU™?  shows you how the world's most successful executives have mastered the people side of leadership in order to become the kind of inspiring leader that you, too, would be honored to follow.


Would YOU Want to Work for YOU™? is for sale as follows:


-   Hardbound and Kindle (Mobi) versions on starting January 2, 2014 (Act quickly! As of this writing, is offering the hardbound book for pre-order at almost 25% off the list price!)


-  PDF version available at  


-    iTunes version (ePub) will be available very soon.


-  Audio book format will be available on by January 2, 2014.




Is Money Really the Ultimate Motivator? 


Fran was a successful investment banker, hard-charging and well-known in the industry for getting results. She regularly worked 14- to 15-hour days and also had a reputation for being a difficult and demanding boss. When she came to me for coaching, she expressed frustration with her team. She felt her direct reports just weren't delivering, and she wanted guidance as to how she could "get more out of them."


When I asked Fran what motivated her ten team members, she smiled at me and, without pause, replied, "Money, of course." It was obvious by the lack of pause and surety in her voice that Fran was convinced she was right.


"How willing are you to test that theory?" I asked.


She chuckled. "It really isn't necessary, Brenda. We're all investment bankers! Trust me. My team members are motivated by money."


 "Come on, Fran. Humor me this once?" I kidded her, and she agreed.


So, with that, Fran returned to her team with a list of motivators and asked each of her direct reports to rank them from #1 (most important) down to #11 (least important).


What list of motivators did Fran take back to her team? Here they are:



Autonomy / Freedom

Money / Compensation

Nature of the Work

Opportunity to Learn and Grow

Prospects for Future / Career Advancement

Purpose / Link to Something Greater






*[e.g., connection with a well-known name, e.g.,"I work for Google."]


The next time we met, Fran brought in her team survey results.


"I'm amazed," she said. "I never would have expected this outcome!"


Out of Fran's ten direct reports, only three listed "money" as their top motivator. Other motivators - like recognition and the nature of the work - turned out to be far more important to them. This insight was a game-changer for Fran as she realized that the increasingly large monetary awards she had been using to motivate her team members were not that effective. She shifted the way she led each individual from that moment on.



Try the ranking exercise for yourself (and add in more motivators if you want, such as more time off, ability to work from home, opportunity to travel, etc.). What motivates YOU™ most at work? More importantly, how much of each motivator are you actually receiving from your current position?  




2013:  How Would You "Brand" this Past Year?



December is always a great time to reflect on the past 12 months. And, since years can be "branded," too, I encourage you to sit back and consider your answer to this question:


What one- to five-word phrase would you use to describe 2013?


Share your creative, reflective answer with us, and we'll choose ten winners to receive a free ebook version of my latest book, Would YOU Want to Work For YOU™? We'll feature some of the best answers in our first e-newsletter of 2014.


So, think about it carefully, and submit your answers to:
December 31, 2013
You never know - your response just might win you a free book!



All the best!

Brenda Bence

Brenda Bence


You have my permission to forward this newsletter to your friends, customers, 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 Brand Development Associates International, a firm which helps companies and individuals build growth-oriented corporate and personal brands. She is the author of several award-winning books.


For more information, visit 


Copyright © 2013 Brenda Bence. All Rights Reserved.