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If you read yesterday’s email you’ll know that I succumbed to a mouse-induced bug this week.

OK, maybe the mouse in my house had nothing to do with it and I’d have got a sore throat without all the shrieking when I saw the furry little darling. Anyway, I rose from my sick bed today and straight into our annual street party.

Brilliant fun and here’s the recipe for an incredible cocktail I discovered there.  If nothing else, it cures everything…including laryngitis:

25ml/1 1/2 oz vodka (preferably apple or bison grass)

Around a tablespoon diced fresh apple

Apple juice


A couple of mint leaves

A cinnamon stick


Put the vodka, apple, mint leaves and ice in a highball glass and top up with the apple juice. Stir with the cinnamon stick and serve.  To make in bulk, dice 3 or 4 apples and soak in a bottle of vodka with a handful of mint leaves and a cinnamon stick. Ladle into a glass over ice and top up with the apple juice. Enjoy (trust me…you will!)

Now on with the show and this week I got in a lot of enforced thinking time…which led me to conclude that the real leaders in any field, or even just those doing better than their competitors, are the people who offer something unique, i.e. their brand.

Branding is essentially a mystical art – at least according to a friend of mine who does it for a very good living – but I believe that it is also really simple.

The best branding boils down to you presenting such a clear message of who you are and what you do that you attract the right customers because they resonate completely with that.

Now, there’s been a lot of talk recently about reputation management and that is an important part of branding if only because people tend to take a lot of what they see on the web at face value.

Make sure that the stuff they see about you is the best possible and you’re ahead of the game which is why I love this site I found called Brand Yourself.

This is a free service that, as they say:

“…helps you fill your first page of Google with positive profiles and links so that you leave a great first impression.”

Smart and something you can offer to clients as well:

Another free tool you can use to help you create or reinforce your brand is this infographic full of great tips that you can download and keep for reference:

And this is an excellent podcast on 6 ways to brand yourself more effectively, including:

  • How to get inside your prospect’s head and understand them like no one else can.
  • The 20-25 questions you must be able to answer
  • The importance of creating and/or curating content
  • The importance of having a “main thing” and a really cool question you can ask yourself to help define it!
  • Why you must “show up” regularly
  • Why repetition is the mother of brand
  • The 6 judgments of brand (in other words . . . 6 ways YOU will be judged)

Listen or download it here:

I couldn’t find a good free Kindle book on branding but here’s an excellent ebook, The Lucky Brand, you can download in exchange for your email address – worth the sign up as it is full of really useful information:

As I keep saying, producing great, unique content is something else that is essential to not only boost you in Google’s eyes but in the eyes of your prospects and customers.

I really enjoyed this piece on Sean Parker’s (Spotify and ex Facebook) recent rant on TechCrunch and I think the points made are relevant to us all and certainly those of you who blog or publish, whether on Kindle or other platforms. Here’s a quote from it:

“Quality original reporting costs a lot of money and often doesn’t lend itself as well to the virality of Twitter or Facebook, where sensationalist headlines and strong opinions often draw the most clicks and subsequently drive up pageviews. The good news on that front is that cost-per-impression advertising is declining in value, so publishers will increasingly be forced to find other ways to monetize that, hopefully, aren’t so reliant on massive traffic.”

Thought-provoking and intelligent – you can read the rest here:

It wouldn’t be a Weekend Takeaways without a video and this week’s is a TED talk delivered by Tim Lebrecht on 3 (useful) ways to lose control of your brand:


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