Free Britney: A Powerful and Memorable Battle Cry

Posted July 15, 2021 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Famous People / 0 Comments

For years, Britney Spears quietly lobbied for her freedom to manage her own life and be free from the restrictive conservatorship that shackled her.

Britney is one of the most famous people in the world, a personal brand who we all know. Yet speaking privately and softly for her rights year after year got her nowhere according to reporting by the New York Times. 

Now, she’s speaking out publicly. She’s speaking loudly, emotionally and specifically about all the freedoms denied to her. Alas, she’s taken back her power.

Britney’s plight and shocking revelations she made in court have captured the attention of the world. It spawned a movement and united people around the battle cry,  #Free Britney.

The unfairness of her predicament has galvanized her followers and the public at large.

But Britney’s cause could have impact far beyond her personal story. It could change how conservatorships and guardianships are handled legally in the United States according to media sources.

Based on what we’ve learned from Britney’s situation, it’s time.


Does Zoom Give Women a Louder Voice in Meetings?

Posted July 13, 2021 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Zoom levels the playing field in corporate meetings giving women equal footing according to Jennifer Nasan, Global Chair of Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan in a July 3, 2021 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

“Zoom is the great equalizer. Everyone’s box is the same size. It doesn’t matter if you are the CEO or the summer intern, your real estate is the same. A box with a name but no title became a tool of empowerment. Your name and face are consistently visible, making you more memorable, familiar and known. When you speak it is very hard for anyone to interrupt and it is also very hard to be ignored with your face staring back. You get invited to a lot of meetings that you wouldn’t have attended if travel were involved. I have witnessed many women in investment banking, young women in particular, find their voices and project newfound confidence in this virtual square. Remember, this is an industry still dominated by men and the physical manifestations of assertiveness and power.”

Ms. Nason’s opinion piece has received lots of pushback from female and male WSJ readers:

“False narrative that women need guidance on how to participate in meetings”

“Female of male, if you act like a shrining violet in the workplace, it’s on you”

“Aren’t we past women’s empowerment by now?”

Ranked-Choice Voting: Does It Help Women and Minorities Win Elections?

Posted July 2, 2021 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

According to a report by Represent Women, an organization that advocates for women’s gender parity, ranked-choice voting aids women and people of color in winning elections.

As the report’s author, Cynthia Richie Terrell, points out, “Over the last decade, 19 cities and counties used ranked choice voting to select local-level officials. … Overall, women won 48% of the individual seats up for election.”

While not enough to get her over the top, ranked-choice voting in the Democratic primary in New York City in 2021, brought Kathryn Garcia close to the winner, Eric Adams.

Tap into the Power of Video on YouTube

Posted February 3, 2021 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding, Personal Branding, Small Business, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

The United States is becoming a nation of viewers not readers. And it’s not all bad.
According to one study, people remember 95% of a video message but only 10% of a text message.

The best place to tap into the power of video is on YouTube. It is the second largest search engine after Google with two billion active viewers. By 2022, online videos are predicted to be more than 82% of consumer traffic.

Plus, YouTube is a trusted link, so people are comfortable clicking on it.

Best of all, creating a YouTube Channel that reflects your brand is free.
It’s versatile, so you can have a consistent brand look across channels: website, blog, email, social media, YouTube channel.

If you have a small business or side hussle, don’t think you need to have high production values. Videos on a smart phone have the same potential to be effective, maybe even more so if you’re authentic and reveal your personality.

A Star is Born: Amanda Gorman

Posted January 22, 2021 by Catherine Kaputa in Famous People, Personal Branding, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Best Speaker. Best Message. Best Outfit at the Inauguration 2021

Not just her poem, “The Hill We Climb” had a powerful message, so did her fashion. Her iconic coat was a nod to Jill Biden who invited her, and her ring in the shape of a caged bird, a nod to Maya Angelou. Fashion “it’s my way to lean into the history that came before me and all the people supporting me” (January Vogue interview). 

Not What the Doctor Ordered: Jill Biden Deserves to be Admired, Not Mocked

Posted December 14, 2020 by Catherine Kaputa in Personal Branding, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

The December 11, 2020 Op Ed by Joseph Epstein, “Is There a Doctor in the House, Not if You Need an M.D reads like a female put-down. Seems like Epstein and the WSJ need a doctor, a spin doctor, to dig themselves out of this misogynistic mess. Jill Biden should be admired for her achievements and commitment to her career as a “working” first lady, rather than mocked for calling herself Dr.Biden and her Ed.D. dissertation titled mocked.

Nasdaq: Put More Women on Boards!

Posted December 9, 2020 by Catherine Kaputa in Uncategorized, Women / 0 Comments

The drive to get more women and minorities on boards is picking up speed. This week the Nasdaq stock exchange headed by female CEO Adena Friedman proposed new diversity and inclusion rules for corporate boards that most companies don’t meet. In short, Nasdaq is proposing to delist companies that don’t have at least one woman and one minority on their boards.

Mandates can make a difference. Just last year, California passed a similar mandate and it’s working. Already, California has increased the representation of women and minorities on the boards of companies with headquarters in California. Of the 138 women who joined all male boards in California since the mandate, 62% are serving on their first company board according to reporting by Axios’ Courtnay Brown.

Not everyone is pleased by the idea of mandates. The WSJ’s Holman Jenkins Jr calls the proposal “A Nasdaq Chief’s Diversity Stunt.

The Dawn of a New Era for Women

Posted December 8, 2020 by Catherine Kaputa in Famous People, Uncategorized, Women / 0 Comments

We’ve had many wrong calls about this being the “year of the woman” over the last decade or so. All the prognosticators were wrong. The march of women leaders wasn’t sustained, but this year might be different. The era of women leaders might be a reality that sticks.

The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib recently gave a rundown of the key evidence for the rise of women power based on their showing in the 2020 elections in the United States (WSJ, November 17, 2020):

• Senator Kamala Harris will become the first woman vice president of the United States.
• An all-time high number of Republican women were elected to the House of Representatives, doubling the last high number of Republican women representatives.
• Women voters were the key reason Biden won. In fact, the entire winning margin for Biden came from women.
• For the second presidential election in a row, a woman was in charge of the winning presidential campaign (Kellyanne Conway in 2016 and Jen O’Mally Dillon in 2020.
• There is a record number of women being chosen for key cabinet positions, such as Janet Yellen for Secretary of the Treasury (another first).

Alas, we may finally be seeing political leaders who reflect the electorate in terms of gender who, hopefully, will bring about a more diverse points of view and a less polarized political environment.

How to Pitch Your Business in a Pandemic

Posted October 22, 2020 by Catherine Kaputa in Branding / 0 Comments

In 2020, we’ve seen a “storm” of disasters: the Covid19 pandemic  and a shaky economy with many businesses shut down or partially shut down. As yet there is no word on whether there will be a second stimulus or another round of the PPP loan program. We’ve also been rocked by a contentious presidential election, and protests on the streets.

What’s a small business owner to do?

You don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of a crisis, but you don’t want to be invisible either. You have to figure out when to comfort customers and when to sell them.

Here are four phases from the Madison Avenue playbook on how to market during challenging times.

Phase 1: Launch with inspirational messages

In the early days of the Covid19 pandemic, many big brands ran inspirational, feel good TV spots like McDonald’s ads showing McDonald’s arches lighting up across the country at daybreak and Apple commercials featuring a montage of people staying creative with Apple products.

Phase 2: Tap into the new normal and changing habits

With consumer habits and lifestyle changing so rapidly during the pandemic, businesses needed to respond with something targeted to the new reality. Domino’s Pizza launched TV spots that featured contactless delivery. Anheiser Busch’s research showed how people’s lifestyle was changing and developed a digital campaign with professional athletes playing Call of Duty while drinking Bud Light Selzer. With people cooking and baking at home more, spice maker McCormick introduced cooking videos like “Easy Quarantine recipes.”

Phase 3: Drill down with useful tools and targeted advice

Many small businesses are using social media to provide useful tools, guides and workbooks that target specific customer needs. Many have set up virtual Zoom events that are educational such as the health food company that hosted a webinar with a panel of medical experts on what you can do to strengthen your immune system during the pandemic.

Phase 4: Humor comes back along with more inspirational messages

The pandemic is not over and no one knows when it will end. But there is a need to laugh again, like Progressive insurance company’s campaign with Flo and her coworkers working for home and struggling with the wifi. Because we don’t have an end date, there still is a need for inspirational themes that make us feel better.