How to Manage Our Super Busy Lives?

I am sure if someone had an exact and bullet proof answer to this question, they would have been placed in the Guinness Book of Records and chosen to be our world President if it was possible.

Anna Kochetkova: life management

We are all incredibly busy all day every day from the moment we wake up till … the moment we wake up as many of us are guilty of working while falling asleep in bed.

Some of us are too busy to rest, others too busy to see friends, many people cannot afford time off to travel and others don’t take enough lunch breaks. And the reason being is that we are too busy to step away from our work. Sometimes I wonder how do we all manage to remain sane!

So, how do you manage your busy life?

Over the course of my marketing career I’ve been fortunate enough to work for myself as well as other people. I’ve been lucky enough to work with different industries and different areas of marketing. No matter what I’ve been involved with I always been surrounded by a bunch of super busy people. However they all managed to live their lives fully, fitting work, fun and rock n roll in.

I’ve borrowed a few techniques from a few successful business people, applying them in my every day personal and professional lives. I am hoping these would help you too.

1. As much as it might sound super nerdy, carry a notepad and your schedulewith you and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. It helps you to be conscious of your day, your time and your tasks. It is similar to measuring and writing down your calories as it allows you to see what you’ve eaten already and what you can have more of.

2. Mind maps are not for everyone, however can be truly helpful if you are, like myself, a very creative person hungry for more structure in your life. My mind maps resemble lists but just look much prettier. I draw circles placing big titles inside them identifying the nature of each task. The brunches growing out of my titles represent tasks associated with the big deeds. Moreover, I highlight tasks and titles in certain colors giving them more or less urgency. Under my brunches you can often find lists which are smaller sub-tasks when my jobs get super complicating or multi-leveled.

3. Assigning time pushing things around is an important skill this is why I like calendars and to-do lists. As much as I’d love to, I cannot fit 1058473 tasks a day so I commit to a few a day working the rest of my activities around my calendar.

4. Spend time planning and strategising; and of course always allocate time to do it. Planning is your productive time. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail. The secret to mastering your busy life is to systematically focus on importance and suppress urgency.

5. Make it a habit to check e-mails later in the morning rather than first thing when you wake up. Modern technology is amazing and, as a marketer, I know it like no one. Checking e-mails before even having your breakfast creates this unnecessary urgency you don’t want to start your day with. My favorite real time example is Gina Lednyak’s morning routine which forces her to only review her e-mails late in the morning: “The morning is spent on client strategy and team brainstorming. I try not to check email until 10am so I get some solid work in. I always find that my best strategy time is before 1pm so the more I can fit in the morning, the better”. Ignore or turn your notifications off as well for the time being when it is really important to focus on your current work (if not related to social media).

6. Every time you need to make a few phone calls, try to only go with one type phoning people till everyone is contacted. Get all the media calls done and move on to your clients etc. Jumping from one type of conversation to another can sometimes disrupt your thoughts and affect your outcomes.

7. And of course, if you are dealing with the Urgent or planning to get a big bulk of work done in a small period of time, feel free to be creative and put a do not disturb sign.

Anna Kochetkova: do not disturb

Please share your life management tricks and tips below and on Twitter @TheContentQ

Stop Reading This Post – Go and Build Your Brand NOW Part 2

As we discussed in our Part 1 blog post about what brand is, personal branding, much like social media, is about making a full-time commitment to the journey of defining yourself as a leader and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others. Once popped you cannot afford to stop!

Personal branding is a truly fascinating topic because as Amanda Rose, Australia’s only Strategic Connector, Brand Strategist, Speaker, Board Member, Founder & CEO of The Business Woman Media, says brand is ‘Who you are. What you say and do. What you believe. What people say about you when you are not in the room.’

I really felt like digging a little deeper into this and finding out more about professional and personal branding and whether they are the same thing.

Anna: Do you distinguish between your personal brand and your professional brand or are they interconnected?

Amanda: Your personal brand is your brand. You can put a professional touch ontop for the corporate world and business world but you are your brand 24/7

Anna: Is personal brand a new trend?

Amanda: It is a buzzword but not many people know what it means.

Anna: Is personal brand important in creating your dream career or it is only working for self-employed professionals?

Amanda: It is the foundation of who you become and how.

Anna: Is leadership required when building your personal brand?

Amanda: No but a personal brand is required to become a good leader.

Anna: Is personal brand simply a self-promotional campaign or a lifestyle?

Amanda: It is a part of it. Your brand needs to be promoted. You need to tell people who you are.

Anna Kochetkova: how to build a brand


 So I decided to find out How-To promote yourself. Here are 5 take away-s from my research. How to build your brand? 

1. Be who you are at work every day. Once you have worked out who you really are and therefore what your personal brand should be, the next step is how you bring your full and authentic self to work everyday in a way you can flourish. You cannot be something for a bit and than decide you no longer want it. This would probably mean that you haven’t found your personal brand yet. Once identified, live it!

2. Behave the way your preach. I cannot stress this strongly enough. What you are known for is as much about how you do what you do, as it is about what you actually do. So think about things like being kind, being respectful, showing up on time, listening to others and not being a gossip. Behaviors matter. So focus on mastering yours.

3. Audit your digital presence. Google yourself and make sure nothing embarrassing or unprofessional hits your search. Think what you wouldn’t want to see when dealing with a business and make sure you are spotless.

4. Be respectful. Every tweet you send, every status update you make, every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand. It is an amalgamation of multiple daily actions. Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your personal brand.

5. Associations mater. It is important who you are hanging out with whether it is Greenpeace or local church. Chose your friends and connections wisely Remember, ‘tell me who your friend is and I will tell you who you are’.

Don’t forget to also find your voice and stick with it. Consistency is crucial in building your brand and establishing your look.

The power to build an extraordinary personal brand rests within ourselves. Each of us is responsible for driving our own outcomes. ‘In business, both online and offline, every day is a dogfight‘ says JD Gershbein, CEO of Owlish Communications and a speaker and consultant on LinkedIn best practices. Therefore I will stop it here and let you go and build your amazing brand! Please share it with me and join the conversation on Twitter @TheContentQ 

Visuals in Social Media and Life: Why Pictures Are so Damn Important?

Who ever comes ups with a visual clarity of their idea always winsDan Roam

Human beings’ intelligence is based on the ability to build sentences out of words. We are taught in schools how to write and read. The importance of words in our lives is clearly vital. Yet our brain is, in fact, hugely relies on images.  

the rabbit or the rabbit

Visual content is extremely important when building a brand’s social media channels, so we definitely need to take it into consideration when putting together a social media strategy.

Research shows that we are more likely to retain information if we’ve looked at it, rather than read it. 90 per cent of information transmitted to our brain is visual, which we process much faster than text. In fact, we actually only remember around 20 per cent of what we’ve read.

Think about it. When you scroll down your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) do you often read these image-less quotes or “I had scrambled eggs today” updates or does your eye freezes when you bump into a controversial, entertaining or compelling image (with some text)?

Visuals in Social Media and Life: Why Pictures Are so Damn Important?

Does it mean that Content is no longer King? Of course, no. Content is now enriched by visuals improving click through rate. There are two primary reasons that image marketing has become the dominant force online.

The right picture can bring out strong emotions in us such as compassion, joy, disgust, or even hate, a fact long known by sociologists, psychiatrists, marketers and politicians alike. An image can convey a wide range of information or it can focus in on a single thought or emotion. 

The second reason is that, as humans living in the digital space, we are overloaded and that is why we get bored quickly these days. A compelling image can save us time and tell more stories in a shorter period of time. Content is still king; however image is a part of it.

The content is still king

Donna Moritz, social media and visual marketing expert nd founder of Socially Sorted, says ‘people have moved from blogs to microblogs and now to multimedia microblogs. The only direction to go is to communicate with pictures.’ Sometimes words aren’t even necessary!

Moreover, Donna suggests to utilise images in a really smart way – to tease people with a graphic. You don’t have to provide the whole procedure; instead add a call to action to get people to click through to your blog, Facebook page or Pinterest page.

Anna Kochetkova: Visuals in Social Media and Life: Why Pictures Are so Damn Important?

From the marketer’s perspective images are a great thing, because they double the chances of exposure. Images separate metadata from posts, and when that metadata is set properly you have another, separate search result generated from the same location, which helps search optimisation.

On Facebook, Donna argues, you want to build engagement, so the image should be one that people will share, rather than click through to your blog.

A recent study published in Psychological Science discovered that we draw conclusions about people based on a given photo in less than a second (40 milliseconds, to be precise). Sharing your personal images or the images of scrambled eggs will define your social media successful presence or a struggle.

Interestingly, studies show that the closer a brand comes to reflecting human personality traits, the easier it becomes for users to identify with them. Showing your brand’s personality affects the conversation drastically. Images is one of the easiest and smartest way of illustrating the personality you are trying to portrait connecting with your potential customers. People feel trusted and important when you open up to them so open up and show what is going on behind the scene.

It seems like humans just love images and it is really a matter of luck if your is about to go viral or die out forever. In fact, by appealing to a specific part of the human brain, you have a better chance of creating a wildly popular campaign. Meet our Temporal Parietal Junction, the part of the brain that is activated when someone considers whether or not to share something. The TPJ is located on both sides of the brain, just behind the ears. Its job is to effectively connect us with the beliefs and thoughts of others. It is a ruling force behind empathy. This is where we decide if this cute fluffy kitten is worth liking or 116-year-old Besse Cooper blowing out her candles photo is worth sharing.

Remember, social media isn’t really about technology, but psychology and science. Understanding your viewers and how their minds work is critically important for increased engagement. The appreciation of a good image is definitely there. Do not underestimate it in your social media strategy. Don’t forget an eye-contact is the first step in persuasion. Images allow you to smoothen this first eye contact with your brand so design it carefully, you are the creator.

Join our conversation on Twitter @TheConetnQ using #SMimages

Twitter for Your Small Biz with Nick Bowditch

Today I decided to sit back and learn a little more about social media. Although I believe I am reasonably knowledgeable in this department, due to my deep passion towards social media, learning more & upgrading my current skills is priceless.

Twitter happened to be in my spot light today. Nick Bowditch, Small Business Evangelist from Twitter and a small business owner ran a Twitter for Small Business webinar today. A found it to be a useful summery of some basic understanding of Twitter for small businesses so I decided to outline the main ideas Nick shared. Feel free to get your notepad out!

It is all about content, of course. Creating your Twitter account really doesn’t do much… unless you implement life into it. Twitter is incredibly fast and requires snappy and exciting content. Depending on your audience and the industry you are in, your Twitter content will vary. As an experienced content producer I worked with a large range of small business including fashion and mortgage brokers. Whether you are B2C or B2B restaurant, bar, a hotel or a real state, a conference or a wedding planner, you can create content irresistible on Twitter.

Nick Bowditch: Twitter content


Nick Bowditch: use twitter in a time sensitive way


TIMELY CONTENT, to start with…

Timely information or tweeting about something happening right now is the Twitter’s magic wand. Just like with journalism, tweeting something of no value anymore is wasting your time. Tweet now! Tweet timely! Tweet useful! For example, Melbourne Cup a few days ago, one of the biggest holidays in Australia which was Facebook-ed and Twitted about by many marketing and creative agencies all over the country. However I didn’t see too many small business owners such as builders, schools, lawyers or mortgage brokers to post much about how did they spend Melbourne Cup. Real-time engagement opens up a conversation which assists in building relationship with your business attracting loyal customers. Do not shut this door!

You can also utilise this time sensitive ‘trick’ by creating an urgent sale (or a competition) and tweet about it engaging your potential customers. Create VIP vouchers or VIP consultations tagging and inviting people. Do not be spammy, of course!

In addition, you can use your Twitter activity for your market research. For example, you are an online store that have just sold your new collection of clothes or older bunch of products or you are a real estate agency and have just run a hot auction. Go on Twitter and get your real time feedback – customers love to be included and you get priceless information in return.

Nick Bowditch: how much is too much to tweet


Nick Bowditch mentioned in his talk that he is often asked what is the right amount of tweets per day, per week or per month. It is not an uncommon question. As a social media consultant I get it a lot, this is, in fact, a number one question I get.

How much is too much? “There is no one word answer” – and I cannot agree more with Nick. He believes that the amount of tweets will vary depending on your business nature and the audience. However he suggests to tweet the same content (changing the wording) a few times a day. Why? There is always a possibility that your update was missed first time. Moreover, social media opens up the boundaries between countries; and if  someone is following you intentionally – keep in mind the time difference. This is why the amount of your tweeting activity will depend on your business. I am happy to discuss it with you in more detail if you need any small business Twitter help today. Shoot an e-mail or tweet me @TheContentQ

The best way to find out how much is too much or too little is to measure and see what works for you. Ask your audience. Literally, ask your audience on Twitter what do they want to see and what they don’t like you to post. If you not ready to start such conversation, try different amount of tweets over a period or time and learn from the results observing the outcomes.

Is Twitter more suitable for businesses like retail rather than property investment? Surely, customers are not likely to buy a house because somebody tweeted about it (unless Kardashians were tweeting). However, as any social media channel is, Twitter is your brand development and relationship building tool rather than a sales channel. Utilise your Twitter activity into a powerful relationship and customer service channel. I bet it is quicker than your customer service rep on the phone anyway.

Is Twiter suitable for B2B at all? If you think that the CEO of Tinto or the Virgin’s owner never come home sitting down to have a drink and watch Big Brother or a cooking show after a long working day you are most likely wrong. Even B2B space is a consumers space. I’ve been stressing this information for some time now.

Similarly, Nick Bowditch agrees that even B2B organisations have people behind their labels. Targeting CEOs and founders on Twitters will definitely require different from B2C strategy but not that all different as you might think. Would you like to discus it further? Tweet me @TheContentQ


Nick Bowditch made a few very strong points I’d like to discuss in a little more detail.

Nick Bowditch: make the most of images

Nick Bowditch: humanize our brand

Images and the process of humanising your brand truly come hand in hand. Images (or videos) can tell a story you won’t be able to fit in 140 characters.

I am aware that many, especially B2B, businesses are not very eager to put themselves out there and post their personal images. In the course of working with a large conference business in Sydney I’ve observed how sensitive B2B brand owners can be. This can be scary but by adding a little bit of personal touch you are really opening up your business’s doors welcoming customers. There is nothing “unprofessional” or “fluffy” in a well moderated and planned out humanising updates with behind the scene images and videos.

Look, B2B companies have personalities, too. Only most of them are incredibly boring and outdated. It doesn’t have to be that way. We do business with people we know, like and trust – let people get to know you and trust you by liking you first.

Showing a little of yourself on social media is simply making people feel like they have been known you for ages. Let your fans and followers get to know your employees a bit better by posting photos of them doing things “out in the wild” just like Deloitte did, for example.

Twitter for B2B: deloite example

Think people, not just business. Although you are targeting other businesses, these businesses are made of people. You need to be humanising your company and engage the people you want to be your customers. Be a human yourself and start a conversation with your audience. Especially if your B2B (or B2C) business which is in a brand new space, start a new talk, get people excited and share information they didn’t know before.


This is where I encourage business owners (or their social media managers) to research hashtags and influencers in the industry. There are many tools out there; however you do not need to go too far. Type in common hashtags in the Twitter (or Facebook) search and see what people are talking about and what hashtags they are using. Make a list of the topics and the appropriate hashtags and create your content around. Sometimes you can even create your own hashtag; however this might take some time for it to get picked up by the community.

start a conversation esp if you are a new brand

Finally, don’t forget to reward your best fans. The most active or most loyal ones are your priceless audience – give them something amazing. Let others know about it as well. Make your audience jealous and let them want to be your best fans.

Twitter for Small Biz: reward people who use your content the most

Twitter is one of my favorite channels. It is fast and it is furious. It can help you grow your brand with the speed of light; however you will need to spend some quality time with it finding your way.

Now, don’t be shy and fire away any questions you are still holding back! Thank you Nick Bowditch for your talk today. You can find Nick on Twitter @nickbowditch

Join our Twitter conversation @TheContentQ with #SmallBizTwitter 

Halloween Aussie Style: Grumpy Cat Says NO!

We’ve now moved on to November slowly approaching beautiful summer times in Sydney. However before that happens, Aussies need to let their steam out and scare the hell out of each other. This is why Halloween was invented!

31st of October is the evil spirit day when people transform their homes and looks to resemble the scariest they can think of characters such as vampires, zombies, monsters, witches, you name it. All the colorful townhouses of Sydney were covered with the artificial spider web, pumpkins were laid in the backyards and teenagers were stocking up on cheap wine and beer. Can’t you already smell it in the air? Halloween is here!

My friends and I often joke “Sangria is better in Spain” or “Beer is better in Germany” etc. Is Halloween better in America? One of my friends departure to the USA on Halloween Eve so I asked her if she thought that horror worshiping holiday is better in America. She, of course, concurred. However, why?

Halloween 2014 was the day of observation for me. From early morning on the 31st I browsed Facebook and Instagram feeds to see what the Aussies were up to.

A few make up preps and costume fittings with the graduate transformation into vampires, zombies and, interestingly, slutty cops. I also saw minions, Britney Spears and flowers outfits which didn’t scare me but caused some seemed inappropriate staring. Well I admit I did a lot of staring this Halloween as I took a role of an observer rather than a participant. I apologise if anyone felt uncomfortable; however I am not exactly sure how can it be more uncomfortable with your underwear on your head.

Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux get their Halloween twerk on Read more at

Although I appreciate a good costume I was fairly disappointed with the Sydney’s effort. Slutty cops, naughty nurses and…, seemingly, call girls outfits didn’t make me feel the holiday. It appeared to me that Sydney couldn’t wait till Mardi Gras and took its ‘best’ gear out on the 31st.

Let the night of transformation begin. With a bunch of food critiques I sat down at Porteno, Surry Hills, Sydney, around 9pm anticipating a very expensive and more or less tasteless dinner. Two pieces of lamb and two glasses of vodka late Halloween night and our few hundred dollar bill arrived by around 11:30pm when the holiday truly kicked in.

The slutty cops were making out with naughty nurses, fairies lost their spell and wings, devils were hornless and I saw a unicorn vomiting on the side of the road. Let me tell you, the magical feel of a scary fairy tale has left my mind that night forever.

That said, Halloween has evolved into one of Sydney’s biggest community-building events, as schools, suburban streets and councils get into the spooky spirit. People seem to get together and be kind to stranger on Halloween as everyone is in a playful mood. It’s a good way to stay connected to people you might not otherwise see. And who ever doesn’t know how to trick-or-treat can have a barbecue or a street party.

grumpy cat halloween

Like Jeff Weiner, or How to Become A Publisher on LinkedIn

CEO of LinkedIn

So I got asked a few times now why I can post on LinkedIn and they can’t. Well, ladies and gents, strap yourself in, I am about to tell you.

Although I am not near Jeff’s number of followers I have finally rolled over my first thousand. How did I get there?

In February of 2014, LinkedIn opened up its publishing platform to it’s members, meaning anyone can apply to publish articles on LinkedIn. It feels like much longer time ago but believe it or not it has not even been a year.

On the side note, LinkedIn isn’t particularly the quickest social media channel – it took them a few years to finally add a possibility to publish images on LinkedIn using a mobile phone and they have recently introduced cover images which I personally a big fan of. Well done, guys, better later than never.

Since the unleashed publishing function I have posted 17 posts, unknowingly accumulated 1023 followers, gained 4211 views (as for today 29.10.14) all up, a dozen of comments and likes generating additional 500 connections. I cannot say I’ve cracked the code but I’ve been observing my patterns as well as the influencers’ and other LinkedIn members working out how to get a little closer to becoming an ultimate Influencer on LinkedIn.

Anna Kochetkova: lets talk about linkedin

To star with, WHY do we (or some of us) want to be an Influencer on LinkedIn or join the Pulse “cult”? Well posts on LinkedIn’s influencer network receive an average of 30,000 each. This is some impressive number for anyone working on developing their brand.

Many businesses are active in blogging and social media to improve overall brand awareness and thought leadership. Pulse posts boost an individual’s reputation, which can indirectly benefit that individual’s company brand.

So when I noticed that LinkedIn designed its own publishing platform I got super excited. As a writer and a marketer, this was goldmine for me. I wasn’t sure how do you become “the chosen one” so I went on to research. The best place to look was LinkedIn settings. At the time, LinkedIn had no information on the publishing platform but a few paragraphs on how to become a Pulse representative or an Influencer which, at the time, involved an application-like process. So I applied. I never heard back…

Let me take you back a little. I first started using LinkedIn about 2-3 years ago not really paying much attention or putting effort into it. I started my insentive journey on LinkedIn around a year ago when I decided to spend a few hours browsing around learning and understanding the channel. I picked up the value quickly and started to expand. I decided to treat LinkedIn like a challenge, eager to reach 500+ connections, attach many exciting projects and publish as many publications as I could.

I strategically planned my work and got my first 501 connections in less than a year. I got hooked up! I started to actively participate in Groups and their discussions, write more articles and cooperate with more publications, I talked to people on LinkedIn, commented on their work, endorsed when appropriate and recommended when was happy with. A few weeks into my LinkedIn “invasion” and I received an e-mail inviting me to post on LinkedIn.

While researching the LinkedIn publishing platform I bumped into a few interesting things I am eager to share with you.

LinkedIn Publisher

Anna Kochetkova: publishing platform waiting list

In order to actually “be chosen” to be a publisher on LinkedIn you need to do “well”. What does it mean? One of the most important things you will need to do to perform well on LinkedIn is choose the right topic. Accordingly, it’s important to remember that LinkedIn’s audience is composed of business minded professionals and career oriented individuals who are interested in networking and finding new opportunities. Play by the rules and you will “win” this game!

In order to climb the “LinkedIn ladder” you need to be specialising in a few favourable by LinkedIn areas:

Careers - this is self explanatory, I believe. It includes topics like interviewing, resumes and career advancement.

Business – it includes a few popular topics withing the category such as entrepreneurship, big businesses and business advice.

Self Improvement - it of course includes themes like how-to be more successful, improve happiness, and improving creativity.

There are a few other areas LinkedIn likes us to engage in such as technology, sales & marketing, current events and productivity.

Write along these lines and you are one step closer to becoming popular like Mik Jagger, or perhaps Jeff Weiner. Do not forget that LinkedIn is a social media channel and it is constantly evolving as well so check their topics out to make sure you are informed of what’s hot and what’s not.

I cannot stress this much enough, use images! Yes, LinkedIn is your professional space and your Grumpy Cat memes might not always work; however it doesn’t mean that you cannot use images. According to the study, over 70% of posts contain stock images or images that were republished from other websites. Some people also used personal photos, screenshots, quotes and illustrations. *I am currently working on my article on the importance of visuals on social media channels so stay tuned and watch the space. 

Please note that LinkedIn decides who gets labeled an influencer. “I’ve seen some non-influencers with over 20,000 followers. The Pulse appears to feature a good mix of influencer and non-influencer content.” says Brian Lang.

Interestingly, LinkedIn recommends writing shorter posts more often. Many studies have been done to show that longer blog posts perform better than shorter blog posts when it comes to traffic, social shares and links. Personally, I’ve noticed that my longer article received over a thousand views; however my shorter ones on average get just over 60. At the same time, I’ve also noticed that LinkedIn values good quality content and headlines no matter how long or short the piece is. Although my longer articles clearly got better exposure I saw other people’s shorter but valuable pieces getting even more views and comments.

I usually blog throughout the week, drafting a few new ideas on the weekends. From time to time I also write during the weekends but often save it for the Monday publish. Posts do get less social shares on the weekends on average, but competition from other writers is probably lower too. Publishing during the weekend could be a great opportunity to get noticed while influencers are taking time off.

I’ve also noticed that blogging about LinkedIn or timely events can also help with your exposure. LinkedIn seems to like to be featured. Timely events and news have always been of high value.

So pour yourself a cup of coffee or a green smoothie and start typing away – you are now one step closer to becoming an influecner.

Join the conversation on Twitter @TheContentQ 

Let Me Just Take a Selfie, or What is Personal Brand? Part 1

Anna Kochetkova: insert your brand here blog post

Personal brand might appear of no use to some people. However, did you know that it has to do with how our brain is wired? Branding has a lot to do with our survival instincts. According to Paul MacLean, the humans’ three distinct brains emerged successively in the course of evolution and now co-inhabit the human skull. Accordingly, the limbic brain emerged in the very first mammals. It can record memories of behaviors that produced agreeable and disagreeable experiences, so it is responsible for what are called emotions in human beings. Do you remember this Christmas Coca Cola advertisement “Always Coca Cola”? It still triggers a bunch of happy emotions in my head as soon as I hear its starting. If I liked soft drinks, Cola Cola would be stocked up in bulk at my place specially on Christmas. Thankfully, I was brought up soft drinks free.

Anna Kochetkova: the three brains


The limbic brain responds emotionally and asks, “Is this my friend? Can I put my trust here?” This is the essential brand level questions / ingredients that generates loyalty. When most fly or fight situation is defined, the rational brain creates a story to make sense of it all. How memorable that story will be is also set within the limbic system, by the amygdala, where the emotional impact of an experience determines its memorability.

Thus, branding (or brand development) personal or professional is not only and beyond business needs. Personal brand can steer important people away as fast as stick them around you like flies around honey.

Anna Kochetkova: rebranded mylie cyrus

Everyone have a personal brand. However most people are not aware of it and do not manage this strategically, consistently, and effectively exactly because they are not aware of their brand. Others, on other hand, are very sensitive about their brands and highly aware of its presence and importance.

When Mylie Cyrus, a little sweet angel, turned into half naked nuisance many people, mass media and social media were drowning in the judgmental headings and updates expressing their shock and dislike. Mylie, on other hand (or I’d say her brand managers), are aware of Mylie’s becoming a woman realising that her little angel image (read “brand”) is no longer turning fans into bucks. Re-branding or re-shaping her personal brand into an outrageous wracking ball girl worked perfectly whether you find her new look good or bad. Mylie Cyrus managed to increase her publicity from nothing to every single tabloid, her concert tickets are sold out and everyone is talking about her. According to Forbes Beat Reporter, Zack O’Malley Greenburg, since the racy performance, Cyrus has sold 90,000 digital downloads of her new track “Wrecking Ball” which moved into the 13th spot in the Billboard charts. Her Twitter activity rose 112% from the previous week. She added 226,273 new Facebook fans and 213,104 new Twitter followers.

The good girl is an adult now, and the Disney brand is kid stuff. Personal branding experts often recommend a gradual evolution for anyone who wants to project a new brand identity. It’s important not to alienate your current followers, right? Well, Cyrus’s fans have outgrown Hannah Montana too. So she needed to find a way to remain relevant while continuing to grow her fortune.

Her goal was to once and for all shed the squeaky clean Hannah Montana image and reset our relationship with her. Mission accomplished. Disney is now the last thing on our minds when we think of Miley Cyrus.

When Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O. of Facebook, started appearing at local haunts in San Francisco’s Mission District last year, one blog speculated that he was attempting to “rebrand himself as a Mission hipster.”

Brands can be thought of as a kind of symbolic shorthand that the irrational unconscious brain uses to facilitate its decisions. This is why Coke tastes better if you know it’s Coke and why your marketing efforts are depending on what emotional factors you are able to bring into play. The amygdala, it seems, gets to decide what you remember and what you do not, and it makes this determination based on the emotional impact of the experience. In other words, the power of your brand is determined by its ability to activate the amygdala.

Anna Kochetkova: personal brand my Amazon

So what is personal branding? Personal branding, much like social media, is about making a full-time commitment to the journey of defining yourself as a leader and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others. Once popped you cannot afford to stop!

With great brand comes great responsibility, says Glenn Llopis. “Once you create a personal brand, there’s no turning back.” Peter Montoya writes in his book: “Every time you fail, you dent your brand slightly. Enough failures – enough contradictions of your promise – and you’ll wreck your brand. People will start to assume that your promise is a lie and that you’re a phony. Then you’re sunk. Mayday. That’s why once you create a Personal Brand, everything you do is branding.” There is no separation between the personal and the professional brand, accordingly. Peter suggest to collapse your personal and professional life into static, pixel-perfect unity and your basic worth is assessed by the WOW-ness of its image.

The Oxford Dictionaries Online added the term “selfie”—the self-portrait taken in solitude and submitted to the gaze of millions, turning each of us into his own paparazzo. Everyone are now working on their brand self promoting and exposing. Personal branding is the subtext of all social networking: our vacation photos to attest to our ability to take luxurious vacations; the pictures of our babies so we can present ourselves as proud and caring parents and, of course, when we crack wise about current events, we demonstrate our wit, relevance, and political leanings.

 What is your brand? Join the conversation on Twitter @TheContentQ with #brandDev and LinkedIn

The Butler, Another Truly Amazing Story

If you have seen 12 Years Slave you might also want to watch The Butler

Personally, being the sensitive person I am I couldn’t finish 12 Years Slave as it made me sick, literally. To prevent myself from throwing up I had to stop half way through.

However when I saw The Butler DVD on the shelve I couldn’t resist. I was of course very nervous when sitting down to watch it. It was a great experience though and no food left my stomach (giggling).


As a white person representative, I’ve always felt very fortunate as I’ve learnt it very quickly that the majority of people are racist. The minority is truly sick racist; however there are still many people in the world who wouldn’t bring a dark skinned person into their homes.

The Butler is an inspiring and heart breaking story of one black man’s life from 1926 to the Obama’s first day of presidency – from the struggle of the white people’s abuse to the day of a black man taking the white people country’s lead. Fascinating!

In 1926, Cecil Gaines was raised on a cotton plantation in Macon, Georgia, by his sharecropping parents. One day, the farm’s owner, Thomas Westfall, rapes Cecil’s mother and shots his father. Cecil is taken in by Annabeth Westfall, the estate’s caretaker, and trains Cecil as a house servant. This is where Cecil’s luck begins. He learnt to work hard and stay away from the politics which saved his life and made him a good living… as good as it could be for a black man back in 1926.

In 2009, as an elderly Cecil Gaines recounts his life story, while waiting at the White House to meet the newly inaugurated president.

In between the 1926 to the 2009 where the story is….

Introvert?  Extrovert? It doesn’t matter!

I’ve been exploring Introverts and Extroverts for some time now. I’ve written a few articles and read a few more discovering the phenomena of, so known, being more or less social labelled as introverts and extroverts.

I am, myself, an introvert surrounded by extroverts hence I am constantly looking for better ways to explain the two and connect with each other better. Introverts are often seen as shy, reserved and typically self-centered individuals… well, in fact, they are simply thinkers.

Introverts are often perceived as anti-social, self-absorbed and … weird. Extroverts are loved by everyone and noticeable everywhere, they are loud and fun and everyone wants to be with them. Introverts are quite, they don’t have many friends and no one really notices them. Extroverts become successful business people (do they?), managers and leaders whereas introverts work in the library or get involved in some boring science activities (or do they?). Extroverts are always happy and introverts are always depressed. Extroverts are always stressed and introverts are always mellow.

extroverts and introverts


Discovering the spectrum of introversion-extroversion and uncovering the discrepancies was a topics, Nutrition & Well being Consultant, Melissa Legovic approached me a few months ago. I was seeking like-minded people to write a piece of this phenomena together; and Melissa seems to be interested in the topic.

Melissa agrees that we are often categorised into an ‘introvert’ or ‘extrovert’ labelled by people around us and many self-help books. However, Melissa believes that we need to really think about how accurate the ‘accusations’ are. Melissa introduced me to the Introvert-Extrovert continuum which basically illustrates that we are not The One or Another but the combination of the both. Here are some both extroverts and introverts’ definitions Melissa shared with me:

Characteristics of Extroverts Characteristics of Introverts
  • Talkative
  • Volunteers personal information
  • Easy to approach
  • Like to socialise
  • Outgoing
  • Get energy from being around others
  • Acts before thinking


  • Quiet and reserved
  • Private
  • Prefers to interact with fewer friends
  • Independent
  • Enjoys quiet
  • Gets energy from time alone
  • Thinks before acting


Melisa raises an interesting topic asking some challenging questions.

“How often do we find ourselves acting like an extrovert when we know (is it possible to know hundred per cent?) we are an introvert?  Do you often find yourself behaving like an introvert even though you prefer to be an extrovert?”  Melissa asks.

Melissa believes that we tend to switch our preferences from one to another. It doesn’t mean though that we ‘become’ an extrovert when required or other way round; however often shift from one to another and back depending on the situation. Let’s see what Melissa means by it:

  • You are an extrovert. However as soon as joined up with small group of close friends who you almost become an introvert. All of a sudden, you seem like the introvert in the entire group.
  • You are an introvert, but are working with a group of people who are more introvert than you; you have appeared to be an extrovert!
  • There is a team of introverts who are discussing an issue that needs solving. Everyone have something to contribute and there is lots of noise and chatter among the group.  You walk past and perceive it is a group of extroverts.

The point is that nothing is concrete and fixed” – says Melissa, – “It depends on the context as well as your nature.  It depends on, as I call it, the reference point.  It depends on how confident and familiar you are with the subject matter.  It depends if you’ve been having a good day or a bad day.

Historically, there has been just as much confusion in the psychological literature. Carl Jung originally defined introversion as a focus on one’s “inwardly directed psychic energy”. However, in the 30s, the psychologist J.P. Guilford showed that various attempts to measure Jung’s conceptualization of introversion resulted in multiple, distinct factors. In other words, there didn’t appear to be a single dimension of personality that captured all of introversion.

Jung defined introversion as an “attitude-type characterised by orientation in life through subjective psychic contents” (or focus on one’s inner psychic activity). Extroversion on the other hand was defined as “an attitude type characterised by concentration of interest on the external object” (or the outside world).

The most common misunderstanding of the extroversion-introversion dimension is that introverts are more introspective than extroverts. In reality, introverts are not necessarily introspective and highly introspective people aren’t necessarily introverted. In a recent analysis, Jennifer Grimes, Jonathan Cheek, and Julie Norem found that measures of Jung’s conceptualization of “Thinking Introversion”– introspectiveness, fantasy proneness, and having a rich inner life– were not significantly correlated with Big Five scales of extraversion-introversion, including a need for positive stimulation and gregariousness.

What many people ascribe to introversion really belongs in the intellect/imagination domain. Intellect/imagination represents a drive for cognitive engagement of inner mental experience, and encompasses a wide range of related (but partially separate) traits, including intellectual engagement, intellectual curiosity, intellectual depth, ingenuity, reflection, introspection, imagination, emotional richness, artistic engagement, and aesthetic interests.

Interestingly, “people who score low in extroversion are not necessarily turned inward; rather, they are less engaged, motivated, and energized by the possibilities for reward that surround them. Hence, they talk less, are less driven, and experience less enthusiasm. They may also find levels of stimulation that are rewarding and energizing for someone high in Extraversion merely annoying or tiring (or even overwhelming, depending on their level of Neuroticism)“, according to Scientific American.

CURIOUS FACT: Are you still having trouble deciding where you fit?  Sometimes people can exhibit characteristics which are not ‘typical’ of their type.


Melissa and I both have always felt like we are definite introverts; however most of people around us are certain of our extroversion. She calls this phenomena Enthusiastic Introverted Type. Therefore Melissa believes that it doesn’t really matter if we are introverted or extroverted as we tend to adjust to context. In saying that, I must ad that, knowing yourself allows you to adapt easier and fitter. If we are aware of what our strengths and weaknesses are whether it is our personality traits, experiences or skills, it no doubt makes our existence easier and happier.


However, if you are still not sure which type do you belong to, you in fact could be a representative of ambiversion.

The majority of the population are, in fact, ambiverts. Moreover, ambiverts seem like a grey area in the personality-type world. Our personalities are varying mixtures of introverted and extroverted functions. The majority of us have traits of both [introverted & extroverted] personalities which are contextually driven.

The say, ambiverts are people who don’t really prefer one way of functioning over another. What do you think? Keep the conversion going! Share your observation, opinion and research!

Acknowledgement: Scott Barry Kaufman, Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania - Nutrition & Well being Consultant, Melissa Legovic - Loner Wolf - 


The Ugly Truth About Multitasking

I’ve always thought I could multitask my tasks with no problem. Especially since stepping into an event marketer role’s shoes, where multitasking is in the core of the job, I felt like I am an absolutely multitasking guru. Everyone around me seems to be getting along with this beast too. How wrong was I! I wrote an article for criterion conferences I am very eager to share with you today:

Anna Kochetkova: The Ugly Truth About Multitasking

Did you know that only 2 percent of us can really juggle multiple tasks without our performance’s taking a serious hit? 

WARNING: one study out of University of Londonshowed that multitasking lowers your IQ by around 10 points. Are you now worried about missing out on higher IQ score because of the multitasking nature of your work, studies or personality? Don’t!

BREAKING NEWS: apparently there are exceptional people out there. David Strayer, a professor of psychology at the University of Utah, discovered a few “super” humans who can in fact multitask without sacrificing their performance. Dr Strayer calls them “supertaskers.” He believes that there is a very small but persistent subset of the population (which is about 2 percent) whose performance does not deteriorate, and can even improve, when multiple demands are placed on their attention,” explains a fascinating recentNew Yorker article on Strayer’s work. However, just like anyone extraordinary, these people are true outliers.

OPPOSITION VIEW: the rest of the world cannot multitask. “When you perform multiple tasks that each require some of the same channels of processing, conflicts will arise between the tasks, and you’re going to have to pick and choose which task you’re going to focus on and devote a channel of processing to it,” says David Meyer, a cognitive scientist at the University of Michigan.

HOW OUR BRAIN WORKS? Meyer’s work explained how multitasking is problematic. It turns out the brain’s ability to process information is limited in a variety of ways including processing channels, limits on data volume, velocity and, of course, working memory. You simply can’t do two cognitively complicated tasks at the same time.

LIFE APPLICATION: “I can listen to a radio and write this blog post” I would say. Some people will argue that they can talk on the phone while writing an e-mail or making notes which is multitasking. David Mayer explains that when you’re on the phone and writing an e-mail at the same time, for example, you’re actually switching back and forth between the two tasks. There is only one mental and neural channel through which language flows. David Mayer argues that if a task complex enough and you continue to switch between a few you will end up not completing both of them or end up giving all your attention to one task only as it would get too hard to concentrate.

Moreover, David Mayer claims that multitasking is simply dangerous for your health. “Even the most adept multitasker will ‘crash and burn”’ trying to resolve simultaneous conflicting demands”, he says. This is exactly why mobile phones are not allowed while driving in Australia. When you’re driving, you have to use the language channel to read signs and plan your next move. However trying to have a phone conversation while reading signs or making a turn will never work, one task will end up being unperformed. Mayer claims, trying to complete two or more tasks at once can take 50 percent more time or longer (depending on the complexity of the tasks). This does not sound like something any of business people would want to hear. However it is not all that sad.


Finding Out What Works for You: Scheduling vs Multitasking POSTED BY TIMEA