How to Fix Bad Branding

Pageant Prep

Being a titleholder comes with many responsibilities, but perhaps the most important is maintaining your presence with a strong brand as a public figure. Public figures can easily fade into the background unless they are actively marketing themselves to the community and taking hold of their personal brand. It’s easy to fall into some bad branding habits that could seriously impact your ability to connect with appearances, gain sponsors, and potentially impact your interview strength. But, it’s even easier to fix these three mistakes!

  1. Phantom Pages
    • Bad Branding: Last year you were Miss Local County, and had a Facebook page to share pictures and updates. This year you are Miss Regional. You make a new page, but instead of naming it after your new title you name it after your name. 2 points! But what happens to your Miss Local County Page? It fades away but never goes away. It is social media litter.
    • How to Fix It: First, recruit your followers to your new page. Make a post on the old page, and tag the new one. Another great tip is to change your old page’s default picture or cover photo to a graphic that has the name of your new page. Finally, invite your friends to like and share your page. If possible, share your page to your pageant’s local org page or group.
    • Delete your Phantom Pages:Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.03.39 PM
  2. Miscellaneous Pictures
    • Bad Branding: Every weekend you are at an event. You are constantly serving the community, visiting schools, and speaking with politicians. And you never forget to take a picture to document the occasion. But when you post it on Facebook, every picture winds up in the Timeline Pictures album. This makes it impossible to sort out photos based on the event. The community may not know what the picture is from, or the event hosts may not be able to find the photos as easily to use on their marketing tools. The pictures are no better than they’d be in a box in the closet.
    • How to Fix it: Go into your page’s “timeline photos” or “mobile uploads”. One by one, open a photo and assign it to a designated album.
    • Moving Pictures into Albums:Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.16.11 PM
  3. Inconsistent Handles
    • Bad Branding:
    • How To Fix It: Changing your Twitter and Instagram handles is incredibly easy. Choose a handle that you want to use for all of your accounts. Before changing one account, check the availability on all sources.
    • Changing Your Twitter Handle: Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 10.43.08 PM

Having a flawless personal brand isn’t easy, but fixing these three mistakes will improve it by leaps and bounds. The importance of a strong social media presence is often the tipping point in the interview room, can impact your stage presence, and ensures you are fulfilling the job you were hired for.

Curing the Pageant Hangover

Pageant Lifestyle

After every pageant comes the inevitable pageant hangover, where your mind turns to mush, your bed is your boyfriend, and your belly opens like a bottomless pit. Instead of binging on Netflix, clear your mind and get your life back on track. Remember the ultimate goal, and say goodbye to the brain mush.

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  1. Clear Your Mind. Win or lose, you aren’t doing yourself any favors sitting for hours scrolling through pictures, messaging your pageant sisters “Remember when …”, or spamming your followers on Instagram. Let the good vibes stay, but focus on today, and planning for tomorrow. Whether it is work or school, the quickest way back on track is by stepping foot on the road.
  2. Technology Detox. If you find it hard to avoid Instagram or Facebook photos, do yourself a favor and avoid technology all together. Dedicate a certain amount of time each day to your laptop or iPad, and spend the rest of your day being productive. Out of sight, out of mind!
  3. Take Time to Reflect. You certainly don’t want to ignore the pageant experience, but instead should use it as a learning experience. Spend a few minutes each day to meditate on your strengths, think about what went right. What (and who) are you grateful for? Reflect on a positive mind, then push forward and apply this positivity to your life.

 

Leading Ladies: How to Reign with a Purpose

Pageant Lifestyle

You’re a titleholder, a role model, a community leader. You want to inspire others, and make a difference in the lives of those around you. If you want to be a productive titleholder, and make an impact during your reign, you need to embrace your role as a titleholder, and reign with a purpose.

A lot of being a titleholder is similar to being a politician. Before you compete you need to plan out your campaign. Instead of debates you have a private interview, but you still say something along the lines of “If I win I will…” Even though the judges don’t vote, per se, their scores are based on your actions and tracked on a ballot. Once you win you are expected to live up to the promises you made during the campaign trail. And when your term comes to an end, the community remembers you one was or another.

During your term reign, there are other similarities to a politician. You are expected to be active in the community while balancing your daily life, work on gaining support for various laws pertaining to your platform, rally the support of the community to stand behind endeavors. You always want to keep your supporters updated through strong social media. And most importantly, you reign with a purpose.

The best way to reign with a purpose is to lead by example.

  1. Be Present at Events. First and foremost, you need to be active. But showing up and flashing a shiny crown is not the ticket to a successful year. Your crown is not a way out of a traffic ticket. It’s not a fashion accessory. If you are at an event, make sure you are present. Don’t be a wallflower- actually engage. Do what you can to introduce yourself to people at the event, use your title, explain your platform.
  2. Be Relevant. You have to know and understand your audience. If you are speaking to a group of kids, get down to their level. Speak in terms they understand. Make it interactive. If you are speaking to a crowd, bring enthusiasm to get them excited about the topic. Most importantly, know what the audience is looking for- a speaker, a panelist, an activity guide, a supporter. Dress the part, act the part, and if you don’t know what they are looking for, don’t be afraid to ask.
  3. Be Responsible. Take responsibility for your actions. Point blank, it is important to lead the life of a role model when in the spotlight. You are an agent for the organization, and your actions should inspire others to follow suit. Sometimes this means giving up alcohol, even if you are over 21. Perhaps you need to admit when you make a mistake and double book an appearance. Understand your role at an event and keep yourself motivated to stay on task. You do not want to be constantly on your phone or chatting with a friend.
  4. Talk. A a public figure you are selling a brand. You are promoting your local title, you are promoting the state organization, you are promoting your personal platform, and you are promoting the organization, company, or event that is hosting you. Every event is an opportunity to meet new people, gain sponsors, further the program, and be invited to future events. Go out of your way to introduce yourself to every volunteer, and spend a few moments with various guests.
  5. Listen. Take the time to listen to the people. What questions do they have? What are their goals and plans for the event? Even if you have an agenda it is important to actively listen first, then give your thoughts after. Make sure you understand what the person is saying, repeat it back if necessary, and ask followup questions. You never know who you might meet, and what they have to say.

 

Healthy is the New Skinny

Pageant Prep

First thing first: All bodies are beautiful. The score you receive in Lifestyle & Fitness has no actual bearing on your status. The only person that can judge your lifestyle and fitness on a personal level is you. Your doctor can give some insight, but in the end it is you and you alone that decides the status of your body image. Not the number on the scale. Not the number on the score card.

Too often when we hear about preparing for the Lifestyle and Fitness with diet and exercise. You are, after all, going on stage in a bikini. So many contestants talk about losing weight, and how great they feel when they lose those pounds. But what is the first thing every contestant does the night of the pageant? She goes out to eat. How can we argue the stereotype that pageant girls don’t eat when every new titleholder mentions greasy food in her post-crowning interview?

Thankfully, slowly but effectively, a new trend is coming into style: Healthy. Girls with curve, girls with muscles, and girls with self respect. Point blank: Healthy is the new skinny.

Skinny bodies are skinny. But healthy bodies from healthy lifestyles have so many benefits, such as…

  1. A Feminine Body. When you eat a restrictive diet and work out with the sole purpose of losing fat, that’s exactly what you do. You lose fat. But there is no such thing as spot reducing, meaning you lose fat everywhere, including your lady lumps. Sometimes just a little fat on your body is enough to pull you from an athletic boy status to an elegant woman. That’s the body that looks good in a gown.
  2. Thick Luxurious Hair. Do you ever wonder why pageant girls wear extensions? Even if their hair isn’t that short, they need the added hair to add volume. That’s because a poor diet without enough fat or folic acid prevents the growth of hair and nails. Some try supplements like biotin to improve their hair and nails, but if you aren’t getting enough nutrients from your food these supplementary nutrients are going to go to daily requirements instead.
  3. Food Freedom. This doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. A healthy diet is 365. But, when a person is on a highly restrictive diet a single cheat meal or even one “bad” item could destroy their entire system. Sodium could suddenly cause her to retain water, and dairy could suddenly cause the runs. Who wants that? By eating healthy, not restrictive, during the entire year your body will not react with knee jerk responses. If you want that cookie or bowl of ice cream or plate of cheese fries- go for it.
  4. Bright and Shiny Skin. One of the benefits of beauty sleep is the regeneration of collagen in your skin, but this can also be improved with a healthy diet. Staying hydrated will help to prevent wrinkles and give a natural glow to what was a faded and grey skin tone. Adding healthy fats to your diet can do the same thing!

Obviously no one wants to gain weight with the goal of being overweight. The point is not to gain weight to exceed the healthy range for your height and body type. But remember that everyone’s body is different and its important to focus on the benefits of being healthy, not skinny.

 

 

Sealing the Deal with a Stronger Closing Statement 

Pageant Prep

Nine minutes and thirty seconds into the interview and the head judge thanks you for your time and asks if you have anything else you’d like to say. You have 30 seconds to summarize everything- your marketing plan, your goals, your platform, your talent. What sets you apart? Why should they choose you?

A strong closing statement is the secret to sealing the deal in the interview room. It is the last thing the judges hear before they move on to the next girl. You have 30 seconds to make a lasting impression. There is plenty of advice for a strong closing statement, but sometimes you just need a few more tips to bump it up a level and seal the deal.

  1. Reiterate Who You Are. Don’t let the judges question who you are, what you stand for, and what sets you apart from the other girls. Just saying your name will trigger an extra memory censor in their mind that will help them remember you.
  2. Set Yourself Up for the Title. They already think you’re a great person. Go the extra step by expressing your impact as a titleholder, not just a contestant. “As Miss Local/State, I will…(ex: bring in new sponsors, raise the scholarship funds, connect with civic organizations that will stick with the org in future years).” Show them your value as a titleholder.
  3. Use Sound Bites. We all know not to ramble. Keep your response short and sweet, and filled with intention. But going the next step and using sound bites or action words will make sure the judges do not forget you. A soundbite is a quick quip that sticks in a person’s mind. Using Jamie Lynn Macchia‘s platform, an example of a soundbite she uses is more than four. She can say “Only 4% of cancer research funding goes to pediatric cancer. Kids deserve more than four,” during her interview then reiterate the more than four soundbite in her closing statement. After she leaves the interview room the judges will remember kids deserve more than four. 
  4. Use Action Words. Anyone can tell the judges what they want to do, what they can do, what they’d like to do. Set yourself apart and use action words. With or without the crown what are you going to do? Use words like I will or  I am. In the interview you will give examples of actual events you have lined up, and the goals you have for them- to fundraise, educate, raise awareness. When giving a closing statement, tie it all together. “As Miss Local/State I will (action verb).”
  5. Consider a Personal Slogan. Before you ever step foot in the interview room you should have something that helps them remember you. Whether it is about you, your platform, or your plan as a titleholder, use a soundbite so they remember. This could eventually because a hashtag for your titleholder branding campaign! Think about your favorite company or organization. What makes you remember their commercials over their competitors?

Some people think that the first impression is the most important. The interview is 10 minutes of first impressions that impact your entire night. It is so important that the last impression, that closing statement, is strong and solid and seals the deal.